NIGERIA – MTN Nigeria, a subsidiary of telecommunications company MTN Group, has announced ten alternative channels for its customers to buy airtime for their mobile devices after commercial banks disallowed MTN subscribers to use their channels.
All the commercial banks, except Zenith Bank which was connected directly to MTN, thereafter barred MTN from their banking channels, leaving many MTN subscribers stranded and frustrated as they were unable to recharge airtime through USSD and bank apps amid the Easter celebrations.
“It will interest you to note that for the benefit of our customers who have been greatly inconvenienced by the service suspension, we now have alternative channels of accessing MTN services electronically,” MTN said in its statement.
Customers can now recharge airtime through fintech solutions platforms such as Flutterwave, Jumia Pay, OPay, Kuda, Carbon and BillsnPay.
The disagreement began after MTN reduced the percentage it remits to the banks for each amount of airtime from 4.5% to 2.5%. In response to this sudden development, the banks removed the telecom firm from their platforms, following a feud over the sharing of fees by both sides.
It could be recalled that over 77 million MTN subscribers were disconnected from all banking channels by the commercial banks, due to disagreements over banks’ commission which was reduced by the mobile network operator from an average of 3.5% to 2.5%.
The commercial banks, in an earlier written communication with MTN, were reported to have asked for a reversal to the old commission or they would block MTN airtime recharge services in all their channels.
This feud is happening just two weeks after, the government resolved an earlier USSD issue between Banks and telecoms resulting in Nigerians who use Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) having to pay a ₦6.98 (US$0.018) fee per transaction.
MTN is the largest telecommunication operator in the country, with about 77 million subscribers, making up about 45% of the total telecommunication market share in Nigeria. This recent feud with Nigerian banks left millions of MTN subscribers stranded and frustrated as they are unable to recharge airtime through USSD and bank apps amid the Easter celebrations.
The Nigerian government had announced that it has made attempts to resolve this issue, stating that talks to resolve the dispute have “reached an advanced stage.”
Two days ago, MTN Nigeria reverted commercial banks’ commission to 4.5% after Nigerian banking and communication regulators intervened in its dispute with Nigerian Banks.
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