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Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) is a protocol used by GSM cellular telephones to communicate with the service provider's computers. USSD can be used for WAP browsing, prepaid callback service, mobile-money services, location-based content services, menu-based information services, and as part of configuring the phone on the network.

USSD messages are up to 182 alphanumeric characters in length. Unlike Short Message Service (SMS) messages, USSD messages create a real-time connection during a USSD session. The connection remains open, allowing a two-way exchange of a sequence of data. This makes USSD more responsive than services that use SMS


  • USSD is up to 20 times more cost-efficient than IVR and integrates easily with existing legacy SMS applications, without requiring continuous investment in new voice lines.
  • The USSD commands are simple to key-in using the handset dial pad, and supported by all GSM handsets.
  • Subscribers demand speedy delivery of VAS, so the direct connectivity between the handset and the application ensures quick delivery.
  • By enabling users to perform multiple transactions in the same session, operators can launch interactive services and significantly enhance the subscriber's engagement with the service.
  • Proven ease of integration with major network vendors as it integrates rapidly with all network nodes.