INTRODUCTION SMS TECHNOLOGY 

                        WHAT 4G LTE IS ALL ABOUT

If you didn’t know, there was a time when you had to pay for internet by the minute. You needed a hard connection to the Internet Service Provider. My personal experience then, was with UTL and Infocom.
With the Internet becoming part of our everyday life

Using the traditional landline, you had to dial in to Infocom servers using a modem, which was literally a phone call. The longer you stayed on, the higher your phone bill shot up. After several fights with my father regarding the ever increasing phone bill, and the dollar charges by Infocom, the whole setup was seen as a nuisance and was finally ditched. Flash forward to today, internet has never been so cheap, all mass market providers are offering compelling pricing and access has never been easier and cheaper.

What is 4G LTE
All the existing mobile networks use 3G technology, which is almost 10 years old and struggling to cope with the needs of today’s data hungry users. Well, guess what, MTN Uganda beat the competition to the punch with their launch of 4G LTE. Just what is “4G” anyway? It’s one G higher than 3G, sure, but does that necessarily mean it is better?

First things first. “G” stands for “generation,” so when you hear someone refer to a “4G network,” that means they’re talking about a wireless network based on fourth-generation technology. 
LTE, short for Long Term Evolution, is considered by many to be the obvious successor to the 3G technologies, which is based upon WCDMA, HSDPA, HSUPA, and HSPA (don’t be bothered by the acronyms as they are, in simplest terms, different flavours of the 3G technology)

But LTE, in its current form, is not true a replacement for 3G in the way that 3G was a replacement for 2G. Rather a significant update to the technology that will enable it to provide significantly faster data rates for both uploads and downloads.
Why it is 4G
Here is the thing, up until recently specifically in the US, little of what was initially billed as 4G was actually fourth-generation technology, according to industry standards. What was being offered instead has been a pot of related technologies that supercharge the existing 3G networks and aim to make the most of the existing infrastructure.
Evidence of this fact was Douglas Kibuuka, my neighbour, whose unlocked HTC smartphone from the T-Mobile network in the US displayed 4G on the Orange network in Buziga, which I believe is HSPA+.
Nevertheless, because of the dynamics of the US market and possible arm twisting from major commercial players, the International Telecommunication Union eventually revised their stance.
So the term 4G “may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMAX, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed.” Enter MTN 4G LTE. In 2013, this revised definition of 4G is possibly met and surpassed. True you are bound to see huge speed increases with 4G LTE using MTN’s dongle.
Of course, to take advantage of this LTE outside the dongle, you need the right hardware which means your existing one might not be compatible. Let us not forget that with faster data there is need to have it cheaper. Think of someone handing you a Ferrari and directs you to a fuel pump displaying Shs4,000 a litre. The faster the Internet, the faster you burn through your data bundle.
What it means for the user
Fact is, most people will fittingly assume 4G is a speed rather than a standard and thus directly compare all networks by this spec. I mean 4G is bigger and better than 3G. And true, LTE networks are going to roll out as the favoured technology to deliver 4G speed to the data-hungry masses.
It complements 3G and leverages new, wider bandwidth to boost data capacity. LTE is also a more efficient technology as networks can pack a lot more bandwidth into the spectrum than they can with older generation technologies.
But ultimately, with all the marketing hype 3G, 3.5G 3.75G and the latest 4G, the consumer will not care about what people call it. They just care that it feels fast. It actually does not even have to be that fast as long as it feels fast. What works and gets the job done on the cheap makes all the difference.
By Daily Monitor

                                                     USSD GATEWAY & APPLICATION:

Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (USSD) is a GSM service which allows high speed interactive communication between the subscribers and applications. There is minimal delay between sending the query and receiving the response. Unlike SMS, USSD is a session-oriented service.
USSD Gateway is a platform that enables Operators to introduce messaging services with USSD as the bearer, enabling faster response times. The platform is complementary to existing SMS services, bringing faster interactive messaging to users. It acts as a Gateway between applications and the GSM network and lets you deliver USSD messages of up to 182 characters on a network between mobile stations and applications.
As with SMS, USSD uses the signaling channel as the bearer. However, instead of having the store and forward functionality, it is session-oriented, which means that when a user accesses a service with USSD, a session is established and the radio connection stays pen until the user, application, or time out releases it. This provides faster response times for interactive applications.
The USSD Gateway uses the same application programming interface that the Short Message Service Center does. Therefore, it is easy to port services based on SMS to utilize USSD as the bearer. In practice, only USSD specific modifications are needed to external applications.
The USSD Gateway supports GUI-based, menu-oriented Service Creation Environment for definition of menu structures and integration with content providers together with internet interfaces to static messages, web-based content providers.
This coupled with detailed statistical analysis, self-testing and resource monitoring guarantees sustained reliable service delivery from the USSD platform. USSD Gateway enhanced cell-switching features which, together with advanced session management capabilities of the USSD Session Manager enables session’s preservation even when the subscriber changes cells.
USSD Gateway’s is built on Application Management and Data Transformation services architecture and delivers a future proof, high performance, telco-grade solution.

USSD Center as Part of GSM Network

USSD uses the signaling channel as the bearer. However, instead of having the store and forward functionality, it is session-oriented, which means that when a user accesses a service with USSD, a session is established and the radio connection stays open until the user, application, or time out releases it. This provides faster response times for interactive applications.
The Home Network subscriber or the inbound roamer can send a USSD string to maintain an interactive session. The MSC connects through to the HLR in the home network (via the SS7 network). The HLR routes the request to the USSD Gateway/Center, which in turn routes the request to the USSD application server.
The application server checks and provides a call handling instructions response back through the same path to the serving MSC in the visited network.

ORG’s USSD Center

USSD Gateway is designed with high-performance platform, fault-resilient SS7 signaling unit and well-established database software.
  • Complex logic to support multiple applications within a single platform
  • Scalable to multiple SS7 signaling links
  • Integrates high quality products in the market that makes it a high performance, robust and reliable system.
  • SMPP (Simple Messaging Peer-Peer) interface for applications to enable services.
This allows new services to get deployed rapidly and encourages existing messaging applications to leverage on USSD technology.

The USSD Gateway includes:-

  • GSM Network Interface
  • USSD Center Kernel
  • Dynamic Menu Creator
  • SMS Redirector
  • Application Programming Interface
  • Graphical User Interface
  • Billing Interface

USSD Applications

Services ideal with USSD as the bearer include mobile chat, m-commerce, prepaid balance inquiry, mobile banking, call-related services and any other service that requires interaction between the user and the application.
  • Menu Browsing
  • Alternative to IVR
    • Balance Enquiry
    • Card Validity
    • Prepaid Recharge (from any visiting network also)
  • Callback Service
  • "Pull" based Services like informational services
    • News
    • Weather
    • Movies
    • Sports Update
    • Currency Update
    • Stock Market
    • Telephone Directory
    • Yellow Pages
  • “Push” Services
    • Voting / Polling
    • Flash Emergency Information
  • Customer care /service management
    • Service Activation / Deactivation
      • Voice Mail
      • MMS
      • Roaming
  • Reservations (Train / Movie)
  • Sponsored Menu Item / Advertisement
    • Companies / Shops / Theaters can get listed on the Menu and promote their services
  • Contests
  • Tele-voting
  • Virtual Money Transaction
  • Debit Card
  • Interactive Interface to Corporate ERP

Key Benefits

For Operators
  • USSD reduces operational costs (unbilled voice calls, IVR maintenance costs).
  • Increases ARPU by offering interactive services to all your customers.
  • Fast implementation of new services thanks to the menu configuration on the server side.
For Subscribers
  • User-convenient, menu-based direct access from the mobile phone keyboard
  • Fast response time to service requests
  • Worldwide easy access to value-added services using the same dialing sequence.

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