USSD code *101# query on Cell C

Marcovitch

Active Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2010
Messages
62
I have a query about the functionality of the Cell C ussd code *101#

Before my number was ported I was assigned a number from Cell C and was able to send the USSD code *101# I would then see a pop up window on my phone with a message something like this

“Your usage is R 0.00 .Your unpaid bill is R 265.60 ,your due date is 07/31/2011.
Free SMS and MMS = 81.Talk Time= 02:36:20.Free Data = 252.85 MB”

Now since I’ve ported, after entering the same code, I receive the following popup

“The message has been sent successfully by SMS”

I then receive two SMS’s, as the content is longer than the standard 160 character limit, with the details of my current usage.

I’ve asked other Cell C users (one on contract the other on prepaid) to send the code to see what happens and they both receive a popup of their usage rather than an SMS. It should be noted that they both have original Cell C numbers and were not ported from another network.

I subsequently checked with another person who also ported and they have the same result as I do when they send the code.
Incidentally we are both on Redbull Mobile contracts

Is the reason for the difference because we ported, and are on maybe a different system within the network?
and has anyone else experienced the same?

Any info would be greatly appreciated
 

nakedpeanut

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Dec 18, 2009
Messages
3,522
I just ported from vodacom to cell c this weekend. The first few times i got an sms, now it just displays the balances like normal..
 

Marcovitch

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Dec 10, 2010
Messages
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I just ported from vodacom to cell c this weekend. The first few times i got an sms, now it just displays the balances like normal..
Interesting, if you don't mind my asking, was the port from pre-paid Voda to pre-paid Cell C, or to contract?
 

zahpat

Senior Member
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Apr 28, 2010
Messages
650
I purchased a new cellc prepaid sim, the first few times i put in the code the balance would show directly. Now it just shows that SMS message thing.
 

Marcovitch

Active Member
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Dec 10, 2010
Messages
62
Same here. Its driving me nuts.
Tell me about it, I've got an app on my android phone which sends the ussd code every day, it then helps me keep track of my daily spend etc etc. Now, of course that doesn't work :mad:
 

SarelSeemonster

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Oct 15, 2008
Messages
808
I noticed the exact same thing, see my post here. I'm a prepaid speedstick promo user, didn't port any numbers or anything.
 

ginggs

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I have three Cell-C prepaid SIMs, on all of them *101# returns the balances by USSD.
My wife has an Red Bull Mobile contract SIM ported from Vodacom, *101# causes the balances to be sent via two SMSs.
 

Marcovitch

Active Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2010
Messages
62
I've just tried another ussd code *147#

Result:182 Red Bull MOBILE Customer Menu:
Selected option "2 - Balance Enquiry"
Result: "We couldn't process your request. Please contact our Customer Service Centre on 140 free from your Red Bull MOBILE phone for help."

When I select any of the other options (except for option "6-Block Sim") they work fine

Apart from the poor grammar - Enquiry should be Inquiry
This appears to be a network issue
 

Cell_C

Cell C Representative
Company Rep
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Sep 7, 2010
Messages
3,312
Hi all

if you are also experiencing this.
Please PM me ASAP,

regards
~AM~
 

ginggs

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Lately my wife has sometimes been getting the response to *101# via SMS and sometimes via USSD.
Red Bull Mobile 200 package ported from Vodacom.
 

Kenny

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2003
Messages
564
Lately my wife has sometimes been getting the response to *101# via SMS and sometimes via USSD.
Red Bull Mobile 200 package ported from Vodacom.
Same package, also ported from vodacom, sometimes I don't get ANY response, not even SMS
 

Marcovitch

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Dec 10, 2010
Messages
62
Ok, so its been more that a month since I posted to this thead and I think I've figured out (possibly) what the problem with the USSD
code *101#

My contract billing date is the last day of every month
So for August the date billed is the 31st

on the 30th I sent the code and received 2 SMS's shortly thereafter with my remaining balance, money owing etc
on the 31st I sent the code and received a USSD response without the line containing "Your unpaid bill is R249.00, your due date is 08/31/2011" I assume this is due to the fact the bill has been paid and thus line is left out.

When the next billing cycle starts the "unpaid bill" line returns and the USSD response reverts back to sending 2 SMS's

Now obviously a prepaid subscriber does not have an unpaid bill, thus the USSD cod will always respond with a popup rather than SMS.
It would seem that Cell C have possibly misconfigured the system in some way.

I have taken some screenshots to show my results http://mybroadband.co.za/photos/showgallery.php/cat/1240

@Cell_C if you could confirm my theory it would be greatly appreciated
 

benitok

Senior Member
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Jan 30, 2007
Messages
746
..Now obviously a prepaid subscriber does not have an unpaid bill, thus the USSD cod will always respond with a popup rather than SMS.
Not true, I have prepaid and sometimes I get an sms and sometimes a popup. It's very random.
 

Base122

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Joined
Aug 2, 2011
Messages
477
Looks like a USSD message is limited to 182 alphanumeric characters. (Google searching)

What I think is happening, is if the response to your *101# query, exceeds this 182 character limit, then their system sends the response via sms instead, as it would not be able to provide you with all the information in the pop up USSD response.

On my prepaid Cell C, *101# always replies with a USSD pop up, but if I recharge and get rewards, where there is now more information than usual, I generally get two sms's. Once the reward period has expired, then it's back to USSD pop ups again.
 

ginggs

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Looks like a USSD message is limited to 182 alphanumeric characters. (Google searching)
That's correct.
What I think is happening, is if the response to your *101# query, exceeds this 182 character limit, then their system sends the response via sms instead, as it would not be able to provide you with all the information in the pop up USSD response.
I think the problem is Cell-C are using a much lower limit, someone needs to tell them they can go up to 182 safely.
 

Base122

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Aug 2, 2011
Messages
477
This is what I got a while back in response to my *101# query:

SMS1: (137 characters)
Balance = R 60.00 Expiry date:23/07/2012.Your Free Balance = R 18.00 .Your Free Balance = R 5.00 .Woza Wheneva Talk Time: 00:50:00.Free

SMS2: (75 characters)
Data = 3055.69 MB.Recharge Reward SMS = 29.Recharge Reward MB = 337.06 MB.

Total message size 212 characters.

Not sure how they determine where the split point for the two messages is.

Never seen a whole word split into two parts, so they must be applying some sensible reasoning like splitting on a space character, nearest to whatever limit they have set.

Probably split on space character nearest to the 140 mark.
Interesting in that we seem to use a 160 character limit for SMS's, but I did see mention of a 140 character limit somewhere. Perhaps 140 with a safe margin of 20 characters?


Maybe implement some logic like:
If Total Message Size > 182 characters then cannot use USSD, so rather use SMS mode.
Then, before sending, split total message into parts of under 160 characters, splitting at space character nearest 140 mark with 20 character safety margin.
 
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