Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) will soon be available to users in emerging markets who don’t have access to mobile Internet. U2opia, a company based in Singapore which provided a similar solution for users of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in India, is now doing the same for Twitter.
Twitter for low-end phones
Reuters reports that U2opia Mobile will be launching its service for Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) users during the first three months of 2014. The solution is geared toward users of ultra-low-end phones who do not have a data plan because their phones are incapable of supporting one.
The service works the same way the company’s connection to Facebook does. Users just dial an access code on their phones, and then they get a feed showing Twitter’s most popular trending topics at the time. Over 11 million people currently use the company’s Fonetwish service, which bring Facebook and Google Talk to ultra-low-end phones without a data plan.
How the new Twitter service works
In order to bring unconnected users onto Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s network, U2opia uses Unstructured Supplementary Service Data protocol, or USSD. The only downside of this low-end technology is the fact that it is text-only, so videos, pictures or graphics of any kind are not supported. However, for users who were otherwise unable to connect to Twitter via a mobile device, it’s a pretty good deal.
A spokesperson for U2opia said Twitter and USSD are the perfect match because by its very nature, Twitter has a 140 character limit. Twitter is largely text-based, so offering it through a USSD connection seems to make a lot of sense.
In case you’re wondering just how widespread a lack of mobile data plans is, U2opia reports that about 80% of people in emerging markets do not use data on their mobile phones. At this point the company’s USSD service is available in 30 different countries using seven different languages. The Twitter feed accessed through U2opia’s connection is localized according to each user’s location in the world.