BY CHIMA AKWAJA, Lagos
MTN Nigeria has lauded its subscribers for the patience over the recent restriction of airtime vending on unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) and banking app channels by banks, saying talks to resolve the impasse is still ongoing.
A statement yesterday by the telecom giant said following the intervention of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigeria Communication Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria, since April 6, 2021, MTN has been participating in a series of meetings to align on longer term pricing structures.
“Following the temporary suspension of sales of MTN products through our banking channel partners on April 2, 2021, services were restored on Sunday, April 4, 2021 with customers able to access all services. This was agreed on the basis that MTN would revert to its previous cost of sales structures with banking partners, until a new long-term agreement can be reached on a sustainable pricing structure going forward.
“The streamlining MTN undertook is international standard and best practice as scale is built along distribution channels. We are confident that partners in the banking sector will work with us to ensure this process concludes as quickly as possible to the benefit of the entire industry.”
MTN thanked its customers for their patience, and “express our regret at the inconvenience imposed on them while banking channels were offline. In order to further expand the range of channels available to customers, MTN has activated a number of new channel partnerships with fintech partners and these will remain in place, significantly expanding the channels available to our customers and increasing our sales and distribution network.
It said the new channel partners include Sparkle, Konga Pay, Barter By Flutter Wave, Jumia Pay, OPay, Kuda, Carbon, BillsnPay, MTN On Demand, MTN Xtratime airtime loans (*606#), myMTN Web http://mymtn.com.ng and Momo agent *223#. MTN stated that it will provide a further market update once the discussions with banks have been concluded.
It also thanked the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigeria Communication Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria for their rapid intervention and said it looks forward to a mutually acceptable solution that empowers all ecosystem participants.
The parties had a face-off following MTN’s reduction of airtime vending commission via USSD from 4.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent which led the banks to restrict customers bank accounts on the platform. Th old commission was restored two days later following MTN’s revert to the status quo of 2.5 per cent.