Twitter to expand service to phones without Internet access

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facebook, twitter, internet, u2opia mobile, ussd, unstructured supplementary data

Twitter’s user base could soon grow exponentially as we are hearing word that the microblogging platform has partnered with a Singapore-based startup to help expand the service in emerging markets. U2opia Mobile will launch a new service in March 2014 that will allow non-Internet enabled phones to use Twitter.

U2opia Mobile uses a telecom protocol called Unstructured Supplementary Data (USSD) that allows mobile phone users without Internet access to dial a number to receive updates instead of connecting to the Internet. The company already works with Facebook to deliver updates from that social network to feature phones and Reuters points out it is also used for Google Talk.

As U2opia chief and co-founder Sumesh Menon points out, Twitter is a perfect fit for USSD because it has by design a character limit and is a very text-driven social network. True enough, U2opia Mobile’s service doesn’t allow for the transmission of images or video which is acceptable as Twitter mostly uses text.

Twitter already has around 230 million users but like any good service, they are constantly looking to expand. Regions like Brazil and India are ripe for the picking as these areas don’t yet have widespread access to smartphones.

Getting users to join Twitter now on basic phones will help with advertisers but more importantly, it’ll help the microblogging site build brand loyalty. When these regions ultimately improve their technology infrastructure and more people move to smartphones, they’ll be ready for a more feature-rich experience.

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