Convenient. Interactive. Accessible.

USSD is a convenient and cost-effective way to create two-way conversations with your customers in real-time. With the dial of a simple short code it allows companies to offer quick, simple and interactive access to enterprise services from any mobile device. Dial *134*926# to try it out.

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Managed service

We provide a managed service and customised USSD app development for your campaign. On top of that, our dedicated team supports you every step of the way.

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USSD Self-Service Portal

Grapevine’s USSD self-service portal is an extension of Grapevine’s integrated Omnichannel Platform. It provides non-technical users with an easy-to-use self-service web interface to develop and deploy fairly complex USSD-based services without the need for programming.

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What can USSD be used for?

  • Customer surveys and polls
  • On-pack competition entries
  • Secure sending of one-time pins
  • Account balance enquiries
  • Alerts & notifications
  • Account applications
  • Identity verifications
  • Customer care queries

Features & benefits

Dedicated USSD String

Every USSD service is assigned a dedicated USSD string such as *120*127#.

Web & Email Reports

Keeping track of campaign activity &results are easy with reports available via the web or via email.

Two-Way Channel

USSD is a session based two-way communication channel and supports responses to menu options.

SSL Data Collection

Responses can be written securely to an external database.

Custom Defined Services

Uniquely defined questions and answers for each USSD service application.

External Validation

Answers can be validated by an external application service.

USSD Gateway Service

Use Grapevine USSD Connection to run your own USSD application services.


Grapevine's USSD API makes it easy for developers to integrate USSD into business processes.

USSD App Development

A custom-built USSD application to meet your own unique requirements.

USSD Types


Standard USSD costs the user R0.20 per 20 seconds – a much cheaper alternative to SMS. They initiate a once-off request and, in return, get multiple service options from a menu-based application.


NI USSD (Network Initiated USSD), also referred to as USSD Push, allows the company to initiate the session and send the first message, to which a mobile phone user can then respond. The recipient is not charged for the session.

Reverse billed

Reverse billed USSD (aka zero rated USSD) allows the mobile phone user to initiate a session by dialing a unique *134* string at no charge.

Premium Rated

Premium rated USSD sessions are charged to the mobile phone user at a highter rate than normal. Revenue derived from Premium rated USSD sessions is split between the mobile network and the provider of the USSD service.

What is it?

USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) is a short message protocol supported by all mobile phones. If you’ve ever loaded airtime onto a mobile phone or entered a competition via your phone, then you’re already familiar with USSD.

It is a session-based service, allowing for interactivity between company and client. By making use of a mobile network operator like Cell C, Vodacom or MTN, this two-way exchange of messages between the mobile phone user and client application happens at high speed and in real time.

A regular session is initiated from a mobile phone when a code starting with a * and ending with a # is entered. This session typically comprises a series of questions (prompts) and answers (responses) between a mobile phone and the USSD service application.

With inbound USSD each service application is assigned a dedicated code such as *120*127#. The code may then be advertised along with a service or promotion in which you require information to be submitted by USSD.

Why use it?

For companies

USSD offers a convenient, interactive and accessible mobile channel for enabling customer care services as well as supporting marketing and sales initiatives on mobile.

For mobile users

USSD is a low-cost method of easily accessing services from their phones, particularly if they don’t have Internet-enabled devices.