Technology Times has confirmed that MTN Nigeria has returned to the status quo of 4.5% profit sharing in the USSD feud that pitted the largest mobile network operator against some banks in the country.
MTN and banks have been meeting behind closed doors on profit-sharing plans introduced by the telco but matters took a dramatic by Friday after banks cut off the mobile operator’s customers from use of their electronic channels for airtime recharge and other virtual transactions, following what they cite as gradual profit cuts from 5.5% to 2.5%.
Dr. Isa Alli Pantami, Communications and Digital Economy Minister, who waded into the matter at the weekend has asked MTN Nigeria to return to status quo promising that himself and Mr Godwin Emefiele, Central Bank Governor, will arbitrate between MTN and the bank CEOs, a senior government official told Technology Times on conditions of anonymity.
The Minister had earlier posted on Twitter that following the fallout between MTN Nigeria and some banks, he engaged with the telecoms and banking regulators, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the matter.
According to him, “We have reached an advanced stage of resolving the issues, for the services to be restored to our citizens. Many thanks!”
Following the government intervention, Mr Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO held a virtual meeting yesterday that was attended by Herbet Wigwe, Chairman of Body of Bank CEOs in Nigeria; Segun Agbaje, GTBank MD and Modupe Kadri, MTN Nigeria’s Chief Financial Officer/Executive Director, to resolve the profit sharing dispute.
“In an attempt to resolve the current USSD recharge impasse, given the intervention from our regulators, we hereby agree that the banks revert to the status quo of 4.5% commission. However, the banks and MTN Nigeria Communications Plc. shall sit to agree on various options that will result in the reduction in the costs on 6th of April 2021”, the MTN Nigeria CEO wrote in a post-meeting letter seen by Technology Times, summarising the decision between both parties.
“The document was issued by me to the banks on the specific intervention of the CBN Governor and the Minister for Communications and Digital Economy. MTN’s intention has always been geared towards business optimization to the benefit of our customers and indeed the country”, Toriola says while responding to Technology Times.
According to him, “This is evidenced by the fact that through the USSD imbroglio, we never denied access to our customers. In the current case, customers have been denied access to services by the banks despite having monies in their accounts to purchase those services. MTN will naturally do all it can to minimise customer pain. It is not just about revenue for us. The good of our customers influence every decision we take. The CBN Governor’s intervention is in line with our core values. We acceded to his request and that of our Minister. We will continue to live our values that ‘everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.”
Editor’s Note: Please return for more on this developing story.