<- Blog

What can your business benefit from the USSD Gateway?

What is USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) and how you can use it. Learn more about the benefits of a USSD gateway and what it can do for your business.

The mobile industry has played an important role in expanding connectivity for people around the world. In 2021, the number of mobile Internet subscribers worldwide reached 4.2 billion people. According to GSMA’s Mobile Economy 2022 report, there will be nearly half a billion new subscribers by 2025 to nearly $5 trillion. In 2021 alone, mobile technologies and services generated $4.5 trillion of economic value-added or 5% of GDP, globally. Countries are increasingly benefiting from the productivity and efficiency gains brought about by the increased use of mobile services. But what about businesses? How can small, medium and large businesses benefit from mobile technology development?

In our article, we will talk about USSD Gateway integration, which provides telecommunications companies and enterprises with several opportunities to better reach different customer bases. This technology is used simultaneously in many applications to achieve business goals and objectives in emerging markets. Below we will take a closer look at what USSD is and how your business can benefit from adopting this technology.

What is USSD Gateway?

Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) is a session protocol that provides communication between the mobile device and the mobile operator's servers. These specialized messages are transmitted using a technology called USSD Gateway. USSD messages are transmitted over GSM signaling channels and are used to request information and start services. Unlike similar SMS and MMS services, which are based on the store and forward technique, USSD establishes a real-time session between the mobile phone and the application that processes the service.

The difference between SMS and USSD is simple: when the SMS reaches the SMS center and is either stored or forwarded directly to the recipient, the USSD Gateway messages establish a direct connection in every USSD session. The connection allows data to be exchanged in both directions, which means that USSD is more responsive compared to SMS-based services.

Differences between USSD and SMS are as follows:

  1. When using SMSC, the action "request - response" occurs in 2 transactions, and with USSD - in 1 transaction.
  2. SMS is most effective in delivering information between subscriber terminals, and USSD is most effective between a phone and an information application. The USSD service is used as transport for building a network of services, primarily information services.
  3. Clarity of the service: no need to type in the center number on the phone, no need to type a short message, just dial a command, and it looks like a simple call, i.e. clear to anyone, even an inexperienced user
  4. The speed of information delivery when using USSD is higher than the speed when requesting through the short message center.
  5. USSD provides the possibility of organizing interactive interaction with information applications in real-time, and the response time is only 2-4 seconds.
  6. USSD messages are immediately displayed on the screen. They are not stored in the SIM card memory, but some phone models allow you to write these messages to the SIM card.

Thus, SMS and USSD technologies don't compete, but mutually complement each other's capabilities.

How does a USSD Gateway work?

USSD is a technology that organically develops the range of additional in-demand services of a cellular operator. Its use expands the possibilities of SMS messages. These technologies complement each other. USSD technology, like SMS, was originally incorporated in GSM networks, that is, it is an element of their infrastructure. Therefore, we can immediately say that the operator does not need to make any changes in the infrastructure of the network itself, as well as in the software of its elements.

Below are the technical features of USSD:

  • With USSD, a direct connection is created as "a subscriber terminal - an application in the network of a cellular operator".
  • USSD is characterized by simpler hardware and software due to the lack of a database. This simplification leads to an increase in the reliability of the system, and, accordingly, customer service.
  • Easy and transparent for the operator scalability due to the lack of a database.
  • Services built on the basis of the USSD platform are available in roaming for all categories of subscribers, which allows, for example, organizing outgoing connections for Prepaid subscribers in roaming.

What is the USSD Gateway used for?

Balance check.

The user can send a Processing Supplementary Service Request (PSSR) to the home zone, which will forward it under the guidance of the gateway to the desired application. The application then sends an acknowledgment through the USSD gateway as a PSSR response back to the user. Balance notification at the end of a paid call can also be sent using an Unstructured Supplementary Services Notification (USSN) message.

Voice Chat.

Using the same process as above, voice chat can be used. This is very useful when VoIP-enabled phones are not available.


An app can advertise its product using USSD, which is less intrusive than, for example, targeted ads.


This provides huge benefits when roaming. This is because USSD services are well available on roaming networks and all USSD messages are routed directly to the subscriber's home network, thus the same set of services that is available on the home network.

Advantages of USSD for your business

  • USSD doesn't require an internet connection or data to work. It allows free-roaming.
  • USSD works on almost all GSM mobile phones. Since no high-tech phone is required, you are guaranteed to reach more people since not everyone has a smartphone.
  • USSD can work on all mobile networks. It only requires a connection to a GSM network to work, as it is not based on mobile communications or a SIM card.
  • USSD is very interactive; The user can quickly see the response on their phone screens and can make more requests, resulting in faster two-way communication and an interaction that is seven times faster than SMS. It is highly customizable, making it ideal for all your business needs.
  • USSD is extremely cost-effective for businesses to adopt and use, and is free for subscribers.
  • USSD content can be personalized and responses can be received in real time.It is user-friendly and can be used by anyone.
  • USSD service is easily accessible anytime and anywhere.
  • USSD offers the possibility of building a portal structure that can be simplified for easy remembering by users.

Use cases of USSD Gateway

For a long time, USSD was used only for applications such as checking airtime balance. This has changed over the years as application developers have gone far beyond the original use cases and are now using USSD to provide various applications to customers.

Use cases of USSD Gateway include the following:

  • Surveys - USSD can be used to collect customer feedback.
  • Voting - in this case, it can be used during real-time voting polls.
  • Financial services - mobile banking.
  • Utilities - can be used to request bills and pay.
  • Paid content - USSD can be used to bill subscribers for access to content such as study notes, news updates, sports news, weather forecasts.
  • Product Promotion - Retailers can use USSD to communicate product specials and can send discount vouchers for their next payment or purchase.
  • Competitions and contests - companies can create portals with entry pages, information about competitions, conditions.

Mobius USSD Gateway

Mobius USSD Gateway is a mobile network element that connects between the mobile signaling network (SS7) and HTTP-based Value-Added USSD Applications. Our product can be used to easily develop valuable services such as real-time charging, content delivery, banking services, balance updates, marketing messages, low balance alerts, and more.

Well-documented USSD Gateway open-source software allows staff to learn, optimize, and customize the Mobius USSD gateway to your evolving requirements free from vendor lock-in. Our license subscription model provides indemnification and full support, along with the ability to deliver input to the product development roadmap.

Jul 20,2022 ● 6 min read

More from our blog

The Importance of SS7 Stack in Mobile Networks
May 08,2023 ● 7 min read

This article comprehensively summarizes the SS7 stack's significance in mobile networks, including its architecture and diverse range of services.

Read now ->
Innovative Technology and MVNO Success: How Cutting-Edge Software Solutions are Revolutionizing the MVNO Landscape
Apr 18,2023 ● 8 min read

The mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) industry has experienced enormous growth and evolution in recent years as a result of the rising demand for reasonably priced mobile services and the widespread use of smartphones. As a result, MVNOs are growing to be an essential player in the telecom industry, and numerous operators are making an effort to differentiate themselves through cutting-edge technological advancements.

Read now ->
MVNO Best Practices: Strategies for Building and Sustaining a Successful Mobile Virtual Network Operator
Apr 10,2023 ● 7 min read

In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the various essential strategies for creating and maintaining a thriving MVNO.

Read now ->

Start innovating with Mobius

What's next? Let's talk!

Mobius Software

As a company you'll get:

  • Get started quickly

  • Support any business model

  • Join millions of businesses

Questions? websupport@mobius.com