Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) is an interactive Mobile menu engagement through an easy to remember code. USSD allows for high-speed and interactive communications between the user and an application on a GSM network. Basically, USSD enables you to request services by entering a specific short sequence of characters on the handset starting with a star sign / asterisk * and ending with a hash #, such as *144#
The beauty of USSD is that it is accessible from the simplest of feature phones to the top end smart phones. What makes it different from SMS is that SMS is a store and forward service, whereas USSD is a session-based service. When a user accesses a USSD service, a session is established and the connection stays open until the user, application, or time-out closes it.
USSD business models can get tricky due to the cost of deployment and mobile operator internal business models. Billing by the operator is done on either PrePaid or PostPaid with no revenue share.
On PrePaid, your customer is charged a flat fee per interaction, while on PostPaid you will be billed per per session. These costs vary per operator. We apply a small business margin on this and the end figure is what you pay. You will notice that banks and utility companies are the main users of USSD as they can levy a fee to their customers account at the end of the month to recoup charges.
Types of USSD
These are USSD that are allocated to one client only. Businesses or organizations that need increased customization choose to use dedicated USSD. A dedicated USSD is your personal short code; no other business or service will have the same short code.
These types of USSD gives you a broad Business logic and room for expansion in your business
Since Dedicated USSD are very expensive to set up and run we have introduces shared USSD that make this service more affordable for our clients.
This Simply Means more than one client Use one USSD core service number but have an additional number tagged along the base service number. Example of Shared USSD is *466*7# , where *466# is the base service number and the *7# is your shared channel where you build your Business logic on
USSD Use Cases
Dialling USSD from any phone makes it a service that enhances user registration with ease
USSD saves more resources and utilizes any phone to deliver a service when needed and effectively
USSD is universally accessible on any mobile phone. This makes it a powerful tool for data collection
The session-based nature of USSD apps also make them better suited for structured surveys than SMS-based solutions.
Give anyone with a feature phone access to structured information from your application with USSD menus.
The interactive nature means you can layer authentication and leading questions to deliver the right information.