U2opia to Bring Text-Only Twitter

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By Katrina Dianne Gimenez | December 7, 2013 12:40 PM EST

U2opia Mobile, a Singapore-based startup, is set to bring a text-only Twitter experience to its users, Reuters reported.

U2opia will be using the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) protocol which allows mobile phones to communicate with a service provider's computer. The program is in partnership with the social networking site Twitter. Local trending topics can be accessed by dialing a code provided by U2opia.

"For a lot of end users in the emerging markets, it's going to be their first Twitter experience," U2opia's CEO and co-founder Sumesh Menon told Reuters. The mobile company is geared toward emerging markets where 8 out of 10 users do not have access to the Internet on their mobile phones.

Through USSD, users will be able to receive local trending topics. However, the service does not allow the display of images or video.

U2opia offers a service called Fonetwish which uses USSD to deliver Facebook information and allow Google Talk to 11 million of its users who do not have a readily available data connection.

The Twitter version of Fonetwish will increase Twitter activity. The networking site went public at an initial $24.9 billion valuation.  With roughly 230 million users, it is seeing steady growth in countries like Brazil, India, and Indonesia. However, the lack of mobile internet infrastructure might hinder expansion of its user-base, also affecting its advertising revenue.

U2opia's project will help Twitter in overcoming such impediment as it will tender the utility to users who may have never used it before.

As a "global provider of mobile applications," U2opia partnered with major international carriers to help keep its service. It provides services to 30 countries and in seven languages.

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