USSD is a direct network service - it connects your client directly to your application. Compared to SMS, which is based on storing and forwarding messages, USSD is more interactive (two-way). USSD can be compared to browsing (SMS is more like email in this analogy), but it does not require a browser or an application to work.
Like SMS, USSD is limited to text, but has further advantages :
- It allows for search functionality.
- Itís a pull not a push medium, so sessions are only conducted on the request of the user, eliminating the possibility of unwanted or spam messages.
- Itís available on virtually all GSM handsets in current use and requires no setup : to the client it appears very much like dialling a cell number
- Itís based on interactive menus, so the applications can be interfaced with databases and call centres.
- It allows for real-time transactions.
- When roaming overseas, access codes for services remain the same.
- USSD is well suited to provide a low-cost way of achieving customer service by lessening the load placed on call centres.