Against the immediate suspension order by the Honourable Minister of Communication, Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami on its planed charge for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), the Nigeria Telecommunication giant, Mobile Telecommunication Network has maintained that it has no other option than to carry out the plan for operational purposes.
NEWS FLAKES NG reports that the Minister of Communication directed the MTN to immediately suspend the charges after it has sent a text message to all its subscribers that it will start charging them N4 per 20 seconds for USSD voice or N4 for text message.
One of the messages from MTN read: ‘’Yello, as requested by your bank, from Oct 21, we will start charging you directly for USSD access to banking services. Please contact your bank for more info.’’
In yet another message, it said: “Yello, please note that from Oct 21, we will charge N4 per seconds for USSD access to banking services. Thank you.’’ But most of its customers reacted negatively to the new charge, saying it is exploitative.
They therefore complained to the Minister of Communications Dr Isa Ali Panatmi via his twitter handle @DrIsaPantami, calling on the minister to rein in on MTN. Dr Pantami answered one of them, saying he has directed NCC to ask MTN to halt the planned charge.
‘’Many thanks for drawing my attention to it. We have directed NCC to ask MTN to suspend the plan. We are not aware of it officially. We will investigate and make sure right thing is done. Best wishes’’, the minister said.
The Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) voice or text message is a service which allows customers to access bank services via their mobile phones.