On the heels of news that Twitter is working with Singapore startup U2opia Mobile to enable customers in emerging markets to access Twitter via their mobile phones without a data connection comes news that Twitter has signed another deal with Switzerland-based mobile software company Myriad Group to the same end, TechCrunch reports.
The Myriad Group technology relies on a text-only transmission technology called USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data), letting people use Twitter without logging in or even having an account at all.
According to TechCrunch, the Myriad Group partnership is similar to that with U2opia Mobile, yet the latter has not made a direct statement about it yet. Myriad Group, however, confirmed details with TechCrunch and provided screenshots of what Twitter via USSD looks like.
Here’s the thing: Twitter as used via Myriad Group’s service is a truly “logged out” experience in that you can look but not touch. Olivier Bartholot, Myriad’s VP of corporate development and GM of device solutions, told TechCrunch,
“You view but you don’t log in as an end user. What happens is that we get a suggested list of high-profile users in each country. From that we create a list of categories. We get tweets from these users, and when a user chooses to follow a TV presenter or movie star, or a topic like sports, that user will receive tweets from those selected people or categories.”
So you can read tweets, but not send them. That is a result of Twitter’s new API. But working with Twitter directly makes that trade-off worth it to Myriad.
Myriad Group has been offering Twitter via USSD “for years,” in Argentina for example. The difference now is that Twitter is officially sanctioning USSD partners, making a noted effort to penetrate developing markets where smartphones and WiFi are less prevalent.