Within North America, data plans are very common and as such, access to web apps such as Twitter and Facebook which make use of text are the norm. However, in the emerging markets, the situation is quite different with entry level phones without Internet access being the norm.
In fact, one study reported that eight out of every ten users in the emerging markets do not have cellular data. As such, access to sites such Twitter and Facebook are not that easy. However, one company is looking to change this. In fact, U2opia Mobile already has a deal in place with Facebook and early next year, the company is expected to launch their service with Twitter. Essentially, the way this works is users enter a basic code on their mobile phone and this will then give them a regionally specific list of the trending topics. The service makes use of a networking protocol called Unstructured Supplementary Service Data or USSD for short. USSD will work very well with Twitter because at its heart, Twitter is “text-driven” and has a 140 character limit. While the service will offer up basic Twitter access, it will not allow users to view video files and/or images.