Short Codes & USSD

A short code is a number to which an SMS or text message can be sent. A short code is fewer digits than a 10-digit telephone number. In Kenya, short codes are 5 digits long e.g 20506. A short code may be specific to one mobile operator or “common” and supported by all major mobile operators. Short codes are used for marketing campaigns, quizzes, polling, voting, games, contests, coupons, mobile payments and a variety of other exciting interactive mobile applications.There are two types of short codes : Dedicated and Shared.
A dedicated short code is a code leased by one company for their sole use. No one but the company that has leased the code will be able to use the code for the term of the lease. This is the most secure situation for the brand and the consumers utilizing the code. Dedicated short codes offer a reliable platform for your mobile campaigns since you are the sole owner and content provider on the code.
A shared short code is one shared by more than one company. This means there are multiple applications or services running on it which are designated by keywords.
USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) is used to send and receive information between a mobile phone and an application on a network. USSD will allow you to request information in short codes starting with * and ending with # e.g *522# which is used to get into Kenya Commercial Bank mobile banking.