USSD technology is the key solution in all cases. It is a messaging service that is almost seven times faster than SMS and is highly cost effective. The operations involved in using USSD are simple and handset independent, which means the service can be accessed from almost any mobile device (from old cell phones to the latest smartphones). From the core network to the internet, the reach of modern USSD services is rapidly transforming the telecom cloud into a services cloud. USSD is fast emerging as the communication protocol, which can ouster the dependency on SMS for quick messaging services like location services, mobile banking, loyalty schemes, information-on-demand services and many more.
Unlike SMS, USSD is not a store and forward service and is session-oriented. When a user accesses a USSD service, a session is established and the radio connection stays open until the user, application, or time out releases it. This has more in common with Data than SMS. Because USSD commands are routed back to the home mobile network’s Home Location Register (HLR), services based on USSD work just as well and in exactly the same way when users are roaming.
In an increasingly competitive environment, operators need to gain an edge in proactively launching the services to meet ever-growing demands of communications. By doing this operators tend to earn more customer loyalty and retention.
USSD provides faster request-response time. It is almost 7 times faster than SMS. The real-time capability of USSD enables the operator to provide fast and responsive services.
Unlike SMS, which is store-n-forward, USSD is session oriented. Due to this reason, the USSD applications can maintain the state of the user and provide a menu based flow navigations. Also, since the user data is not saved temporarily in HLR/USSD gateway, the security of the USSD service is much greater compared to SMS.
With USSD, application can provide menu based, directed user request and response flow. This removes the burden of remembering keywords and commands from the user. For a menu, user just has to input a single digit response, which makes the navigation more convenient. Further the operator can do the updates to the menus of a service and with lesser education to the users; the users will be able to still use the service using self-explanatory menu navigation.
It is not much expensive to support GSM networks with USSD because it uses existing network’s protocols. Also the signaling session in maintained through request-response flow, the network resource utilization is much lower than sending-receiving multiple SMS.
Based on the service code segmentation, it can guarantee that the service access will always come to the home USSD services, even at the out-bound roamer situations. Further the VPLMN can deploy some services to be served locally for in-bound roamers.
USSD does not require special feature on the phone. Legacy phones even 10-12 years can support USSD access as same as newer smart phones. This makes USSD services accessible by all subscriber base of an operator.
A variety of USSD applications can be created and integrated easily because the protocol is not complex. GUI based service creation environments (USSD Browsers) will provide much easy to develop USSD service flows.