Orange turns on USSD Facebook access

Orange is utilizing unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) to improve mobile access to Facebook in Africa, in a move it claims will open the door to a billion customers in the market.
The French operator claims to be the first in the region to offer USSD access to the social network, noting the low-bandwidth data technology enables it to offer Facebook on any mobile device, including older handsets that lack a Web connection or data price plan
It has already signed up 350,000 customers to the service, which launched in Egypt late 2011. The operator plans to extend coverage to Ivory Coast by end-February, and to other African countries through 2012.

“Social networks such as Facebook have completely changed how people stay in contact with their family and friends, and it’s important that our customers, regardless of the phone they have, are able to access and participate in these services,” says Xavier Perret, vice president of strategic partnerships at Orange.