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MTN Nigeria And Banks Drag Over New USSD Commission

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MTN Nigeria And Banks Drag Over New USSD Commission, SiliconNigeria
  • Offers Subscribers Fintech Channels

The talks to resolve the dispute over commission for airtime vending on unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) by MTN Nigeria and its banking partners is yet to be resolved.

 The two parties continued their meeting today but the grey areas were yet to be fully resolved even as the telecom operators apologized to its customers over the restriction suffered during the Easter holidays.

 In an update on banking channel partners’ dispute and expansion of channel network issued this afternoon, MTN said following the temporary suspension of sales of MTN products through its banking channel partners on April 2, 2021, services were restored on Sunday, April 4, 2021 with customers able to access all services.

It said this was agreed on the basis that MTN would revert to its previous cost of sales 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.

“The streamlining MTN undertook is international standard and best practice as 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.

“MTN would like to thank our customers for their patience, and express our regret at the inconvenience imposed on them while banking channels were offline. In order to further expand the range of channels available to customers, MTN has activated a number of 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.

“The new channel partners include Sparkle, Konga Pay, Barter By Flutter Wave, Jumia Pay, OPay, Kuda, Carbon, BillsnPay, MTN On Demand, MTN Xtratime airtime loans (*606#), myMTN Web http://mymtn.com.ng and Momo agent *223#.

“We would also like to thank the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the Nigeria Communication Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria for their rapid intervention and we look forward to a mutually acceptable solution that empowers all ecosystem participants,” concluded the statement.

The parties faced-off following MTN’s reduction of airtime vending commission via USSD from 4.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent which led the banks to restrict customers’ bank accounts on the platform. The old commission was restored two days later following MTN’s revert to the status quo of 2.5 per cent.

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NITDA, MassChallenge Plan National Startup Community

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NITDA MassChallenge Plan National Startup Community, SiliconNigeria

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and MassChallenge, a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators, have partnered to catalyze and support a national startup community in Nigeria.

The two parties have closely aligned goals to stimulate economic vitality and job creation in Nigeria by catalyzing entrepreneurial activity and supporting entrepreneurs as they develop and execute on game-changing ideas, digital technologies, and discoveries. 

The director-general of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, noted that this is an exciting partnership that shows the commitment of the Agency towards fostering the growth of digital innovation and entrepreneurship in Nigeria. The Agency is leading the drive to transform Nigeria into a digitally-driven economy by leveraging on innovation.

The chief executive officer of MassChallenge, Siobhan Dullea said, “MassChallenge is proud to partner with NITDA to foster cross-sector innovation and cooperation across all industries in Nigeria. Bridge to MassChallenge Nigeria will help grow the highest-impact, highest-potential startups across Nigeria, while connecting them to MassChallenge’s global network.

“We have supported many high-quality Nigerian startups through our global programs and we’re extremely excited to start our work with NITDA to support even more.” With the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, startups have shown resilience by turning challenges into opportunities and creating new markets.

The partnership with MassChallenge will further strengthen the Nigerian ecosystem by providing the needed exposure such as access to global networks, funding and knowledge sharing/transfer, thereby giving the startups equal opportunities to compete globally.

Bridge to MassChallenge Nigeria will identify and accelerate top startups that are based in Nigeria and interested in growing their business in the Nigerian market. Startups selected for the program will participate in a week-long MassChallenge-led startup bootcamp followed by a pitch competition that will determine the top Bridge to MassChallenge Nigeria startups.

The top startups will participate in a second week-long bootcamp where they’ll have access to the MassChallenge Boston or Israeli ecosystem. MassChallenge and NITDA will be working closely to promote Nigeria as an emerging entrepreneurial hub and leader of innovation in Africa, in order to support job creation and economic development.

With the focus of fostering the growth and success of Nigeria’s startup enterprises MassChallenge is keen to connect Nigerian entrepreneurs with markets, networks, and capital in the global innovation ecosystem.

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Africa Digital Economy Forum Moves to Promote Digital Enablement across Continent

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Africa Digital Economy Forum Moves to Promote Digital Enablement across Continent, SiliconNigeria

The Africa Digital Economy Forum (ADEF) a non-profit initiative geared towards the realisation of full digitization of Africa’s economies has been launched.

The need for digitisation of economies globally, particularly in Africa cannot be overemphasized. Hence the birth of the Africa Digital Economy Forum (ADEF), a  forum opened to local and international individuals and organisations that play in the digital technology space state and non-state C-level executives in the digital sector.

The ADEF, which draws outstanding support from across the continent, will drive digitisation across the continent through four channels, namely Intelligence, Advocacy, Campaigning, and Fundraising. Via Intelligence, ADEF will promote and conduct strategic research in areas of Digital Economy as they reflect its overall goal and vision for the African continent. The ADEF will carry out research to positively and sustainably impact the largest number of people; and to influence the adoption and scale-up of high-impact, cost-effective programs and policies in Digital Economy settings.

Through Advocacy, ADEF will work with other stakeholders to advocate for right policies, causes and actions on issues pertaining to the promotion of digital economy across the continent in line with our mission and vision. ADEF will also conduct a variety of campaigning or awareness efforts designed around our programmes and objectives on achieving sustainable and beneficial digital economy in Africa. Campaign will involve physical, real live events, real life or virtual symposia, workshops, letters to government officials, press releases, email or social media campaigns.

ADEF will work with other stakeholders to advocate for right policies, causes and actions on issues pertaining promotion of digital economy across the continent in line with our mission and vision. According to ADEF’s President, Mr. Teniola Olusola, African countries are making transitions to becoming technology-enabled economies.

“Africa is on the verge of new unfettered opportunities leveraging technology and innovation – fully capitalizing on the expected boom in the digital economy. There are inherent opportunities for digital economy in such common policy drives as the Continental Free Trade Area and the World Bank-supported African Union’s ‘moonshot’ project (designed to ensure high-speed connectivity across the entire continent).” He said.

“To fully tap into these opportunities, the ADEF believes the continent must rework its policy and regulatory frameworks to provide the required sustainable environment for new ICT investment that will enhance connectivity, create innovative enterprises, provide digital skills, and generally improve the lives of over 1.5 billion Africans,” the president explained.

The Founding CEO, Mr. Akin Naphtal, added that the ADEF is the common platform for technology and service providers focusing on the transformative powers of Africa’s steadily growing and booming digital economy.

 According to Co-founder, Olusegun Oruame, “Africa’s ability to leapfrog and be part of 4IR rests on the digital economy. ADEF provides a networking and advocacy platform to engage and collaborate with other stakeholders including governments, private sector, academia, national and international bodies, etc. ADEF offers that critical mass of knowledge to promote frameworks to maximize the potential dividends of a thriving digital economy beneficial to all Africans.”

With a mission statement that talks about a commitment to the expansion of connectivity, access to affordable data, promotion of innovation and full digitization of African nations’ economies as the basis for development and a vision statement of leveraging media to expand opportunities in digital economy for Africans, ADEF is focused on the full realization of digitization of Africa’s economies. All stakeholders in the ICT space are welcome to be a part of this initiative. Further details about membership, and the forum itself can be found on: www.theadef.com

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Audiomack Partners with MTN to Stream Music to 76 million subscribers at Zero Data Cost

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Audiomack Partners with MTN to Stream Music to 76 million subscribers at Zero Cost, SiliconNigeria

Audiomack has partnered with MTN Nigeria (www.MTNonline.com) to unveil the Audiomack+MTN Data Bundle program (www.MTN.tc.Audiomack.com), which offers MTN subscribers tailored data bundles for streaming unlimited music and accessing content on Audiomack free of data charges.

The partnership will see MTN subscribers gain free access to Audiomack’s streaming service via their mobile devices on weekly and monthly subscriptions. The weekly plan offers 1.2GB + Free Audiomack at N270 while the monthly plan offers 2.5GB + Free Audiomack at N550.

Commenting on the partnership, Dave Macli, CEO and Co-Founder of Audiomack Africa said, “At Audiomack, we recognise the importance of access to quality music, and this coupled with Nigeria’s vibrant music industry has influenced this partnership. This relationship not only allows us to create shared value for MTN subscribers by delivering the best musical experiences but also enables us to further connect with the Nigerian music fans.”

Charlotte Bwana, Head of Business Development and Media Partnerships for Audiomack Africa described the partnership as a reinforcement of Audiomack’s commitment towards democratising music streaming, a mission from which MTN subscribers will greatly benefit from.

“High data costs are one of the barriers to music streaming and we are glad to be partnering with Africa’s leading telecommunications company to provide the Audiomack+ Data Bundle. We are truly excited to offer the best and hottest new musical tracks—a mix of real-time trending, top charts, and expertly-curated playlists to MTN subscribers.”

Also speaking, Srinivas Rao, Chief Digital Officer, MTN Nigeria said, “Collaboration is not just rhetoric for us; it is the guiding philosophy behind everything we do. We are good together. We recognize the growing need of our customers to have more options to access entertainment and have partnered with Audiomack to offer them an uninterrupted stream of the best, newest and most diverse music selections.”

With millions of  monthly active users in Nigeria, Audiomack continues to demonstrate its commitment to moving music forward across the region by providing accessibility for all.

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