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MTN, banks working on sustainable USSD pricing model

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MTN Nigeria has said that it is currently engaging the banking community to align on a longer-term pricing structure for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform.
   
MTN said this yesterday while assuring its subscribers of improved services on the platform.Recall that the banks had blocked MTN customers last Friday, leaving millions of MTN subscribers frustrated as they were unable to recharge airtime and perform other digital transactions via USSD at the weekend into the Easter celebrations. The crises brewed from the fact that the banks had cited gradual profit cuts from 5.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent. The banks owed the telecommunications operators N42 billion in yet-to-be remitted USSD debts.
   
But with the intervention of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, a temporary settlement was reached, which led to the unblocking of the USSD channels.

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It was gathered that banks were asked to revert to the status quo (4.5 per cent commission) while more negotiations were to be held in the week.
     
MTN, yesterday, in a statement, said following the temporary suspension of sales of MTN products through banking channel partners on April 2, services were restored on Sunday, April 4, with customers able to access all services.
  
The telecommunications firm said this was agreed on the basis that it would revert to its previous cost of sale structures with banking partners until a new long-term agreement can be reached on a sustainable pricing structure going forward.  
  
“Consequent on 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. We will provide a further market update once these discussions have been concluded,” it stated.
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MTN explained that the streamlining it undertook is the international standard and best practice as the 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,” it stressed.
    
To further expand the range of channels available to customers, the firm said it had activated several 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.

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