News

New Features: Create Chatbots For Telegram; Service Constructor For USSD Services

by Nikita Tekutiev on March 17, 2016

 

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We’re excited to introduce you to our new features. Telegram bots are becoming a worldwide trend, and we implemented a great way for you to create Telegram chatbots easily. No coding required.

  • Telegram chatbots constructor. Create Telegram bots through a graphic interface without writing a single line of code. Your bot can be up and running on Telegram within minutes. For free.
  • USSD constructor. We added a new graphic constructor for USSD services as well. Now any user with no programming skills can easily build complete USSD services.
  • USSD service hosting. Services created through USSD constructor are hosted on our servers.
  • USSD service emulator. Check your service in web emulator without spending money on traffic. You can load your code in our debugger and it will mark incorrect lines!

Try these features now and contact us at support@globalussd.com if you have any questions.

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Nikita TekutievNew Features: Create Chatbots For Telegram; Service Constructor For USSD Services

Messenger App Companies Cost Billions And It Is Bad For Mobile Operators

by Nikita Tekutiev on July 29, 2015

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According to Head of Flurry Simon Khalaf presentation, WhatsApp user base is as large as the number of subscribers of the largest telecom operator in the world – China Mobile. Facebook Messenger audience is bigger than the population of the US. User base of Snapchat exceeds it too and Line audience is larger than Russia’s population.

WhatsApp users worldwide sent 30 billion messages per day. For comparison, the global number of transmitted SMS – 20 billion per day.

These client base figures and its involvement in the interaction with the application – make advertisers drool and evaluate messengers higher and higher, and positions of telecom operators, that despite their efforts continue to be a “dumb pipe” are becoming less confident.

The most damage is done in revenue loss, particularly in the messaging space. In a recent study by Mobilesquared, 80% of MNOs cite this as their most pressing concern. One third of mobile operators have a 10% decline in revenue.

The pain can be felt from words some MNOs officials use when speaking about OTT services. Acting President of Azercell Vahid Mursaliyev said at a press conference that mobile operators in Azerbaijan have become more exposed to theft of international voice traffic in recent years.

To protect their market some operators move from words to deeds. Popular service of free messages and calls Viber can be banned in South Korea as a result of a positive decision by the court on patent lawsuit from SK Telecom, one of the largest national mobile operators. TechCrunch points out that a possible ban of the popular messenger in Korea is half the problem. Judgment in favor of the operator could set a precedent, the consequences of which will be felt soon by other similar messaging applications. One of them, Kakao talk facing direct danger – the application is installed on 95% of smartphones in South Korea. Mobile operators have been having claims to it for a long time as Kakao talk takes away a large portion of  voice and SMS market. At the beginning of their work in the market, mobile operators were trying to “strangle Kakao Talk», but later accepted its existence.

Lawsuits and prohibiting policy might be a way for some operators to deal with the problem. However, they are much better alternatives based on introducing competitive products that can easily rival OTT products. Stay tuned for more info on that in the next posts.

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Nikita TekutievMessenger App Companies Cost Billions And It Is Bad For Mobile Operators

Mobile Operators Starting To Earn More On Mobile Data

by Nikita Tekutiev on May 25, 2015

The era of OTT mobile services officially started, with data services proving to be the new cash cow for mobile operators. People give up on standard calls and go to the Internet instead. It doesn’t matter what application subscriber is using – WhatsApp, Viber, or Skype. At this point operator becomes what it is called a “dumb pipe” and doesn’t get direct monetization in a traditional sense.

Revenue from mobile data of the largest mobile operator in the Eastern Europe, MTS, will exceed revenue from voice services for the first time in history. In 2015 and 2016, MTS will focus on package deals, when for a fixed amount per month subscribers can make calls for a certain number of minutes, send a certain number of SMS, and transfer certain amount of data. Users whose devices support LTE-network consume about 1GB per month traffic. The rest of the subscribers who use the 2G and 3G, consume a half to two times less data.

The second largest operator in Russia, MegaFon, is not expecting that revenue from data will exceed revenue from voice services. As of the the third quarter of 2014, the proportion of data in the total revenue of MegaFon was 38%. “The share of voice calls falls, data grows.To avoid becoming an infrastructure such as water supplier, we need to develop, experiment with different business models.” said General Director of MegaFon Ivan Tavrin.

It is not the same for all operators around the world, data revenues for some of them will not make up for decline of voice calls. Water supplier reference can be true for operators in Latin America. According to DOTGO, a mobile messaging firm, “many budget-conscious consumers will opt to not use a data plan, or opt to use a data plan sparingly. Instead, many consumers will take the smartphone subsidy from their operator and remain “semi-connected” through WiFi hotspots to keep costs down.”

Although the uptake of mobile data plans is increasing, it will not be sufficient to offset the decline of these core services. In 2015, consumers will accept the compromise of being “semi-connected” through OTT services in WiFi hotspots if it means saving money. Operators will therefore face the familiar challenge of losing ground to OTT services that other operators have faced globally.

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Nikita TekutievMobile Operators Starting To Earn More On Mobile Data

Mobile Banking In Developed & Developing Countries Part 2

by Nikita Tekutiev on May 12, 2015

What is the best way to reach customers when it comes to mobile banking? What is the best technology to use? Let’s look at two completely different markets for a start: First World And Developing countries. In both these markets mobile banking is on the rise and one the main topic of discussion in IT departments. But there is one significant difference.

In developing countries mobile banking is a necessity. 2.5 billion people in the world don’t have a bank account, and this further complicates their already complicated life. They have to keep their money in cash and hide them at home or invest in tangible assets that depreciate over time. To transfer money to relatives or somewhere else, people need to travel or pass them with courier. At the same time banking infrastructure in poor countries is not developed,there are no branches and ATMs, so it is impossible to develop a standard banking. This is where mobile phones become useful.

As Bill Gates said in his annual letter, “One interesting feature of digital financial innovation is that some of it is happening in poor countries first. If we waited a few decades, banks in developed countries would invent digital banking tools, and they would trickle down eventually to developing countries. But because there is strong demand for banking among the poor, and because the poor can in fact be a profitable customer base, entrepreneurs in developing countries are doing exciting work — some of which will “trickle up” to developed countries over time.”

As a result of this demand and general poverty of the population, companies have to come up with systems that don’t rely on new technologies and are accessible to general population. Why invent something new when there are already existing working technologies? Those technologies turned out to be SMS and USSD. In developing countries they are used for mobile wallets, i.e. this is not a banking in a traditional sense, as user doesn’t have a bank account.

While IT departments in developed countries are looking for new fancy ways of mobile banking, the real technology that works already exist. This is a way for banks in developed countries to reach absolutely all clients. It is a necessity for a client to leave his/her mobile phone number when applying for any banking service. With USSD/SMS it means that every client becomes a potential user of mobile banking application. Why? Because USSD/SMS don’t depend on mobile platform, it can work on iOS, Android, and more importantly, any basic mobile device. Standard dumb phones still take half of the mobile market in most countries.

We’ll continue on this topic in next posts. Stay tuned.

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Nikita TekutievMobile Banking In Developed & Developing Countries Part 2

Mobile Banking In Developed & Developing Countries Part 1

by Nikita Tekutiev on May 3, 2015

Having survived the crisis of 2008-2009, banks no longer want the risk associated with interest rates. Banks want customer loyalty, want to get the transaction and commission income streams that do not depend on fluctuations in the credit market. For them it’s the main driver in a rapidly changing market. Banks are turning into IT companies with banking licenses.

Forrester Research found that many banks continue to neglect marketing, sales and product research on tablets and smartphones. But even with this Forrester predicts that in 2015 more than twice customers in comparison with 2014 will investigate financial products through mobile devices.

The percentage of customers who will purchase new financial products through mobile devices, will also grow. The role of generation Y, which values the creative approach and becomes a major consumer of financial products in the future is especially important.

Customers used to come to a bank office at most once a month, more often – once a quarter, to solve their problems. The bank had only a few contacts with customers during the year, and these contacts were times when the bank was able to sell something.

With the advent of online banking contacts increased, it began to occur once every one to two weeks. The client comes to the Internet, pay bills there, transfer money, checks something.

The next step is related to the continued rapid growth of social networking, mobilization, the penetration of smartphones. People are used that a very large part of their interaction with the outside world is through mobile phones. All kinds of social networks, news, notice, personal and corporate email, chat with people, messengers – many things began to occur through the gadget, which is in the pocket and is constantly close to someone 24/7.

For the bank, this means that he has a 24/7 point of access to the client. This gives an opportunity to radically increase the number of contacts with the client. The bank has to make sure that the client would want to interact with it. It is clear that if it takes a long time to log in into mobile banking only to check the balance, a customer would still do it only once a week.

In the next post we’ll talk about easy accessible and affordable ways that banks can use to reach any person with a mobile phone and vice-versa. Stay tuned.

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Nikita TekutievMobile Banking In Developed & Developing Countries Part 1

Use Cases Of USSD Based Services From Around The World

by Nikita Tekutiev on February 27, 2015

India

Suburban commuters in India will be able to buy daily train tickets and renew season tickets using an app on mobile phones. Central Railway’s chief commercial manager RD Sharma said, “Money for buying the tickets will have to be loaded through the R-wallet mobile payment technology. Users will receive a code in the form of an SMS. The code will have to be flashed at the printing kiosk at the originating station to get a printout of the ticket.”  A user can book unreserved tickets for second and first class for long-distance trains as well. Through the cellphone app, it will also be possible to cancel tickets.

The application is available for Android, Windows and iOS.  You can use the service from any OS or simple feature phones by dialling *139# and getting USSD version of the service.

Russia, Moscow

Residents of the capital can now receive receipts for utility services through SMS. Also, residents will be able to receive information via USSD-service. To subscribe, you need to dial *377*5*5*3 #. In June 2014 the portal “active citizen” has passed survey on the abandonment of paper receipts. 76.4% of respondents were in favor of replacing paper bills with electronic.

Africa

MFS Africa has launched Zem Aussur – a mobile insurance product for drivers of motorcycle taxis, known as zémidjans. MFS Africa is a leader in providing mobile financial services across the African continent to un- and under-banked individuals. Zem Assur, a unique, affordable, and accessible mobile insurance service, covers zem drivers’ medical and pharmacy expenses, permanent disability, and death resulting from road accidents.

Customers sign up for Zem Assur coverage via their mobile phones by entering a simple USSD code, and pay 5000 FCFA for one year of coverage.

Russia, Tver

Service “Mobile Banking” of Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia, is a multi-optional service that can be accessed through USSD. You can top up your airtime in a few seconds, by dialing a short USSD-request *900* 00#. After that, the bank card connected to the “Mobile bank” is charged, and your airtime is automatically topped up by 100 rubles. In this case, the service is available even at negative balance.

These are just a few cases of using USSD for various services. Stay tuned for more.

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Nikita TekutievUse Cases Of USSD Based Services From Around The World

Online Delivery Test Form – A New Way To Check Delivery To Your Country

by Nikita Tekutiev on December 3, 2014

Link of the test form – http://delivery.globalussd.com/

Using our new online form, it is possible to find out supported operators in your country without contacting us. Why such testing is required? Why there is not already a complete list of supported countries? There are several reasons for that. Let’s look at them more closely.

USSD traffic is not regulated among operators the same way as SMS traffic is. There are no agreements between members of GSM Associations in regards to USSD traffic. That means that mobile operator can block traffic at any time if it doesn’t meet their commercial interest or make reconfigurations that can temporarily or permanently influence delivery of USSD traffic. This can occur when inbound services are competing directly with carrier’s own services or when traffic amount is so significant that it becomes noticed. Or simply because an operator is making technical works inside its network.

While the above mentioned scenarios happen very rarely, our online test form is an opportunity for you to be sure that operators you want to deliver services to, are supported by our platform. Your results are saved to our server, where we can analyze it and have constantly updating information on delivery worldwide.

To perform testing you need to have SIM cards of operators that you are interested in and any mobile phone. Once you have your phone ready, enter delivery test form and choose your country from the list. Then enter your mobile operator’s name and phone number in international format without “+” sign. Please enter correct actual name of operator, this way we can collect relevant statistics.

The testing consists of ten pages. There are ten different channels, and each of them needs to be tested separately. On each test you are supposed to receive either a flash USSD message or USSD menu. Phone screen needs to be unlocked and a flash/menu message needs to be dismissed before proceeding to the next test.

Once you press “Send message”, you are offered to confirm that delivery is in fact happened or not. At this stage please choose correct answer, so we can collect relevant information. If during testing you received at least one message or menu, it means that you can safely start developing your service and be sure that delivery is working.

If you have questions and suggestions contact us at through our contact form here. Stay tuned.

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Nikita TekutievOnline Delivery Test Form – A New Way To Check Delivery To Your Country