The federal authorities has ordered the Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC) to droop the N4 per second imposed by MTN on subscribers to USSD entry to banking providers charges.


The Minister of Communications Dr Ibrahim Ali Pantami gave the directive by means of a statement by his Media aide Uwa Suleiman on Sunday.


The Minister stated MTN ought to keep motion on the matter pending when he’s correctly briefed on it.


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The statement reads: “The consideration of the Federal Ministry of Communications has been drawn to the viral textual content message allegedly despatched by the Mobile Network Operator MTN Nigeria and different Mobile Operators notifying subscribers of a N4:00 cost per 20 seconds on USSD entry to banking providers from the 21st of October 2019

The USSD providers embrace the GTB’s *737#; First Bank’s *894#; Fidelity Bank’s *770#; Access Bank’s *901#; and UBA’s *919# that run on telecoms’ operators platforms. While there may be an preliminary cost of N50 by the financial institution, which can be retained, prospects who use the USSD can be made to pay further N4.

MTN had on the weekend notified its over 60 million prospects in Nigeria of the brand new growth by way of a textual content message which learn: “Please note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Please, contact your bank for more info. Thank you.”

The N4 per 20 seconds signifies that in each per minute, prospects pays ₦12 on every USSD transaction.

Therefore, assuming 1 / 4 of MTN 60million prospects (15 million) perform a USSD transaction in a day, it signifies that the telecommunications agency might rake in as a lot as ₦180 million in a day, which might end in ₦5.58billion in a month.

An trade source instructed The Guardian yesterday that the decision was really made by the banks’ chief govt officers who should not able to make deduction from the N50 they cost for the telecoms corporations to keep up the ICT infrastructure on which the platforms at the moment run. Instead, the banks determined to additional cost the purchasers N4, which can be remitted to the telecoms corporations for infrastructural upkeep.

“What I don’t really understand is why the banks and telecoms operators can’t agree to share the N50 which is already being charged. They are just there to exploit Nigerians,” he pressured.

A telecoms skilled, Kehinde Aluko, who faulted the decision, stated it might be a ploy by the federal government to make further cash from the trade by means of the backdoor.

“We have not forgotten the plan to introduce Communications Service Tax (CST). I am not saying this is it, but in Nigeria, anything can happen. It will interest you to know that other operators have long started charging additional money before MTN sent the text message to its subscribers. I just don’t know how they want ordinary Nigerians to survive. They want to milk everything out of Nigerians.”

A subscriber, Akin Olumuyiwa, described the extra cost as worrisome. He referred to as on the minister and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to come back to the rescue of the over 175 million lively subscribers within the nation.

Another subscriber, Nnenna Adanma, stated the initiative wouldn’t work. “It is disturbing. You know how much banks make from customers? They will charge you for everything—ATM maintenance, current account maintenance, SMS charge when they send you transaction details, and now they have colluded with the operators to force Nigerians to pay another N4, no wonder they declare bogus profits at the end of the year. The question is: where are the services? The same goes for the telecoms firms, the services remain unsatisfactory, yet they want to put more burden on subscribers. Government should do something very fast.”

A Twitter consumer, @DoctorEmto, wrote: “About that USSD thing, I noticed that @ZenithBank has been deducting every time I use their USSD code to check my account balance.”

Another consumer, @DonanAmillah wrote: “@MTNNG, yesterday I asked why you sent me a message about new charges on banks USSD usages, you insisted it was at the instance of banks, well one of my banks @FirstBank has DMed to say they didn’t ask you to do such. Can you show some proof?”

First Bank’s response to DonanAmillah reads: “This is to advise that the knowledge on charges that apply when dialing 894# USSD codes shouldn’t be from First Bank. You can be knowledgeable if there are any modifications with any of our providers. Please additionally be aware that First Bank has not elevated the894# transaction charges. Kindly disregard any message to that impact. #YouFirst.”

Access Bank, in its response to a buyer who despatched textual content messages to the financial institution by way of Twitter, stated: “Our fees and charges on the USSD service remain unchanged, and all our services are available.”

In a swift response, the Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Pantami, has suspended the plan.

In a statement made out there by his spokesperson, Uwa Suleiman, titled “Discontinuation of Alleged USSD Service Charge by MTN”, Pantami stated yesterday that the ministry was not conscious of it.

“The consideration of the Federal Ministry of Communications has been drawn to the viral textual content message allegedly despatched by the Mobile Network Operator MTN Nigeria and different cellular operators notifying subscribers of a N4:00 cost per 20 seconds on USSD entry to banking providers from the 21st of October 2019.

“The office of the Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, is unaware of this development and has hereby directed the sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to ensure the operator suspends such plans until the minister is fully and properly briefed,” the statement learn.

Meanwhile, Prof. Umar Danbatta, the chief vice chairman of the NCC, has stated that have of early depletion and rise in information consumption by telecoms shoppers should not essentially outcomes of unlawful deductions or sharp practices by cellular community operators (MNOs) however might be attributable to varied components.

Danbatta gave the reason throughout a presentation on the month-to-month briefing on short-term Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by companies beneath the Federal Ministry of Communications.

During the presentation by the administration of the fee to Pantami, and different officers of the ministry on the weekend in Abuja, Danbatta spoke on what the NCC has been doing in key areas of its regulatory mandate which embrace discount of value of knowledge, stemming the tide of ‘illegal deduction’ of knowledge, addressing the difficulty of invalidly-registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) playing cards in addition to efforts to make sure steady compliance with the utmost two per cent Call Drop Rate (CDR) directive to telecoms operators on high quality of service.

On the difficulty of knowledge, the EVC stated: “The ‘illegal deduction’ of subscribers information was not in the actual sense of the phrase unlawful and was additionally not a results of any confirmed sharp observe by the operators.

“The reasons for the rise in data consumption and depletion, which is classified by some users as illegal deduction, include the advancement in technology which has led to the rise in applications, updates and services that leverage on this technology and advancement of supportive data infrastructure.”

Other causes, in keeping with him, are improve in video-based promoting content material by social media corporations which in some circumstances are layered on free providers supplied by the businesses; auto updates of apps on the telephone over cellular information community with none kind of prompting or intervention by the consumer of the cell phone.

In his presentation to the minister, the Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC, Bako Wakil, stated that whereas regulatory efforts have been ongoing in direction of a downward evaluation of value of knowledge and improved high quality of knowledge providers for subscribers, the drivers of the price of information provision and high quality of service in Nigeria have been, nonetheless, not fully throughout the management of the fee.

“These data provision drivers and factors include Right of Way (RoW) issues, fiber cuts, vandalism, multiple taxations, insecurity and power outages as well as site access denial that tends to temper seamless service provision.”

On measures being taken by the fee in direction of curbing proliferation of pre-registered SIM playing cards within the nation, Danbatta elaborated on a broad-based id administration database resolution being labored on to completely curb the menace.

“In view of the grave impact of pre-registered SIM cards and other SIM-related crimes on national security arising from this challenge, the commission is considering implementing robust identity management solutions to curb the menace as the telecoms sector transits into a new SIM card registration regime based on the mandatory use of National Identity Number (NIN) regulations issued by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).”

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