Is USSD the new SMS?

Have you ever typed a code starting with an asterisk and ending with a hash on your mobile? Or have you ever received a flash message on your phone containing a pin you requested or promotional material? Then you have made use of USSD Push and Pull services.

USSD is a communication protocol used to send text messages between a mobile phone and an application via a network. The network is called the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network. It is similar to an SMS, however it provides session-based connections only – you can’t store or forward the message.

USSD Push and Pull messaging are increasing in popularity and some people have asked the question whether USSD is the new SMS. But why is that? What makes Unstructured Supplementary Service Data a viable competitor in the world of business communication?

  • USSD is real-time and instant. In fact, it can be anything up to seven times faster and much cheaper than SMS for two-way transactions.
  • It is similar to speaking to someone, because it allows faster communication between users and network applications – messages are sent directly to the receiver allowing an instant response. An SMS can be compared to sending a letter. You have to wait for the message to be delivered and then wait some more for a reply – not the best method for attracting customers who are pressed for time.
  • USSD could allow for more creativity on the side of the business owner. Because it supports menu-based applications, a business can offer a wider range and more complex services. It is flexible and cost effective at the same time.
  • It works on almost all GSM mobile phones (from old handsets to new smartphones). It is neither a phone-based nor a

    to take a call while busy with an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data session – without disturbing the session.

  • USSD Push and Pull services are accessible while roaming. And unlike SMS, there are usually no charges for this.

Interested in Integrat’s USSD Push services? Get in contact with us right now!

Herman Cremer
A seasoned professional with 20 years of experience in digital & mobile solutions and advertising.


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