USSD – Unstructured Supplementary Service Data

Ok, this post might just get a little technical… But USSD is a service that can open huge business opportunities… Some banks are already using it to their advantage.

Unstructured Supplementary Service Data is a capability of all GSM phones. It is generally associated with real-time or instant messaging type phone services. There is no store-and-forward capability like that in an SMS. Hence, response times for interactive USSD-based services are generally quicker than those used for SMS. The advantage of USSD currently is that,  in operation, it is not possible to bill for USSD directly as yet. Which means that users of USSD service get it free of cost.

Users do not need to access any particular phone menu to access services with USSD- they can enter the Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (USSD) command direct from the initial mobile phone screen.

The primary benefit of USSD is that it allows for very fast communication between the user and an application. Most of the applications enabled by USSD are menu based and include services such as mobile prepay and chat.

You could read up telecom circle for an understanding of USSD’s usage in mobile payment systems. Other reads include mobilein and wiki.


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So what’s this blog about?

Another attempt? Well yes. Attempting to figure out another sustainable model (there are some other attempts going on parallel-ly). Well, we have a lot of questions in mind. we read up stuff, we do some research to find answers to these questions. This is an attempt to publish that little 15-20 minute research.
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