The federal government has opposed the move of telecommunication companies to increase charges on use unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) channels to access banking services.
Solacebase recalled that Mobile Network Operator MTN Nigeria and other Mobile Operators notified subscribers of a four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services from the 21st of October 2019.
According to a notification sent by MTN to subscribers “Please note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per 20 seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you.’’
However prior to sending the notice, telecoms operators charged customers per USSD session but this differed across networks, with the highest being N20 per session.
The Minister of Communications Dr Ali Isa Pantami directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to order the suspension of the charges
This was contained in a statement by the spokeswoman of the ministry Uwa Suleiman, issued on Sunday.
The statement read, “The attention of the federal ministry of communications has been drawn to the viral text message allegedly sent by the Mobile Network Operator MTN Nigeria and other Mobile Operators notifying subscribers of a four naira (N4:00) charge per 20 seconds on USSD access to banking services from the 21st of October 2019,” “The office of the Honourable 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) ensures the operator suspends such plans until the Honourable Minister is fully and properly briefed.