If you’ve ever topped up with airtime, then you’re already familiar with, or rather, used USSD technology? But, like many out there, the nitty gritty’s around how it actually works, remains a mystery. Well after reading this article you will have a better understanding of what USSD really is. I will be answering all the important questions and simplifying this USSD phenomenon for you.
So what exactly is USSD or Unstructured Supplementary Service Data? Well, it is a protocol used by GSM cellular telephones to communicate with the service provider. Thank you Wikipedia, you really know how to simplify something! (HTTP:… If that all sounds like French to you, don’t worry, let me simplify what USSD is in lamens terms. To the average person it’s a technology used to send information between a mobile phone and a mobile network.
How does it work?
The reach around USSD is massive; it can be used by anyone with a cell phone. No internet connection is required and no app needs to be installed. USSD has the unique advantage of offering a simple browsing experience through a menu system – and it works on all handsets and all networks. So want to see how it works.
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Some of the features most USSD technology is used for:
• USSD Mobile Surveys
• Client feedback forms
• Information requests
• USSD based competitions for database building
• Mobile based research tools
What’s the cost?
The big question in today’s economy is always around cost. With the cost of petrol and everything else increasing, the last thing you want is the shock of finding airtime being deducted from your cell phone and you don’t have a clue why or to whom it went!
Well, the average cost of using USSD technology is 20 cents per 20 seconds. And the average network time out ranges from 2 to 4 minutes. This simply means that if your response time is delayed in any way, your service provider has a precaution in place to time your activity out so as not to have you spend more than is required to access any service.
It really is as straight forward and simple as that. So, the next time you recharge or get a USSD feature you will know what and where it comes from. If you have any more questions or would like to see some innovative USSD campaigns, why not check out Channel Mobile’s website or post a question on their Facebook page, Google+ and get all the answers you require.