People working in the field of mobile are very familiar with the term Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) but it often leaves clientele scratching their heads when a mobile aggregation service provider offers it as a product. What is it exactly?
USSD is a GSM technology that allows for a two way exchange of data in real time. It is almost like a live telephone conversation without speaking or using words.
The user has to dial a number sequence from his mobile phone in order to access certain mobile services or applications. We are all familiar with sending a “please call me” or buying airtime/ vouchers via your phone – this is done through Unstructured Supplementary Service Data.
The number you dial usually starts with an asterisk or hash character followed by a sequence of numbers and ends with an asterisk or hash character again. The phone recognises the number and will use the USSD bearer instead of a voice call. In other words, you are directed to an infrastructure instead
mobile service provision.