Interact with Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)

Reach and interact with your customers using a low cost, two-way exchange of data known as Unstructured Supplementary Data (USSD). These interactions are created in real-time on a customer’s mobile phone, independent of the mobile device type, with no download requirement or SIM card dependency and allow for customer engagement and self-service opportunities like airtime top-up. 

Clickatell’s USSD services enable our clients to reach and interact with their customers via a low cost, low touch and high reach service channel. USSD breaks down geographical constraints and can reach everyone, everywhere, no matter how remotely they are located.

How USSD works

Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) is a GSM standard that allows high-speed interactive communication between subscribers and applications across a GSM network. It does this by:

  • Creating a real-time connection during a USSD session (unlike SMS which is a store and forward protocol).
  • Allowing information exchange through a dialogue (two-way exchange of a sequence of data) Supporting messages up to 182 alphanumeric characters in length (longer than a 160 character SMS).

This session-based USSD standard is available on more than 99% of mobile handsets currently in use globally. As a result, USSD has become widely accepted as the ideal channel for services such as mobile banking, mobile commerce, etc. This is especially evident in African countries where access to other digital channels, like mobile broadband, is scarce.

Clickatell’s unique USSD value proposition

Our Clients’ consumer-base typically consists of a vast, varied and potentially unbanked African audience, where English may not be their first language. For these reasons, our solution supports various local languages and is easy to use, irrespective of the geographic region. Clickatell’s value proposition is unique in that we adopt a regional approach with central hubs operating out of Southern, Western and Eastern Africa.

The benefits of including our USSD Aggregation service into your business strategy:

  • New and compelling mobile customer engagement and self-service opportunities
  • New revenue opportunities through USSD as a new sales channel.
  • Assistance with the launch of mobile services through USSD and prepaid airtime (as a primary customer acquisition opportunity).
  • Increased speed to market.
  • Strategic positioning in the mobile space for future mobile payment services.
  • Use of a hosted shared solution, significantly reducing capital requirements and in-house mobile technical skills.
  • Facilitated billing, technical and operational relationships and interfacing across operators (single point of contact in Clickatell).
  • Professional services assistance.
  • Provision of an additional, strategic client service channel in mobile (with potential for future extensions and reduced customer churn).

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