“Dear Customer, Please be informed that some of Mycustomers may not be able to purchase airtime, and data recharge via banks including MOD, and myMTNApp.
Please pacify Mycustomers and educate them to use MTNTopit, MoMo channels, as well as the debit card options on MOD or myMTN App.”
A check by Business am also confirms this as attempt to use the mobile telco’s USSD service returns the following message:
“Dear Customer, this service is temporarily unavailable. Kindly contact your Telecom service provider.”
This development may not be unconnected with the ongoing debacle between Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Deposit Money Banks on the issue of who pays for the expenses incurred in the carrying out of the service on the networks because while USSD calls are made on the various bank’s networks, it is routed through the telcos.
To resolve the matter between the two entities, the Central Bank of Nigeria along with the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy had few weeks back met along with the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and agreed that a flat fee of N6.98 will henceforth be charged for every USSD call made by users.
The new charge took effect Tuesday March 16, 2021.
Part of the statement then read thus:
“Effective March 16, 2021, USSD services for financial transactions conducted at DMBs (Deposit Money Banks) and all CBN-licensed institutions will be charged at a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction.”
“This replaces the current per session billing structure, ensuring a much cheaper average cost for customers to enhance financial inclusion. This approach is transparent and will ensure the amount remains the same, regardless of the number of sessions per transaction.”
Mobile network operators had earlier threatened to withdraw the USSD service from banks as banks owed an accumulated debt of N42 billion within the last eight months.
However, it is not yet clear if this is a move connected with the issues on ground or just a technical fault which might see a resolution soon.