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Network service provider MTN had a tech ‘glitch’ but isn’t clearing customers’ airtime debts

IN SHORT: Several Facebook users in Nigeria have posted that MTN Nigeria has cleared airtime debts. But MTN has denied the claim and blamed a system error for the glitch.

MTN has cleared the debts of its users, according to numerous posts on Facebook in Nigeria.

MTN is a network service provider and one of Africa's largest communications service providers.

One post from 11 November 2023 reads, in part: “Good news for MTN users! If you owe MTN money for airtime or data that you borrowed, the company has decided to clear your debt.”

It goes on to say users can check if their debt has been cleared by dialling *310#. 

Customers can get airtime in “advance”, the cost of which is usually deducted from subsequent airtime subscriptions on the customer’s MTN line. This means that users can end up with a debt on their account, if they don’t buy enough airtime to cover any outstanding debt.

In November 2023, customers started claiming that MTN had settled their debts. The claim was also posted on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

But is this true? We looked into it.


‘It’s a glitch’ says MTN

Africa Check searched for trustworthy news reports about MTN settling customer debts and found only reports where the service provider denied the claim.

According to Punch newspaper MTN had “alluded to the recent debt cancellation status on its subscribers’ network as a system error”. The Cable newspaper reported that MTN had called it a system glitch.

On 11 November MTN posted on X (formerly Twitter) about the issue: “We had a system glitch! Our team is swiftly fixing it.”

Social media users should ignore any reports that MTN Nigeria is forgiving debts on its customers’ accounts.

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