Bharti Airtel is the third largest mobile operator in the world with 300 million subscribers in 20 countries. Airtel is credited with creating the ‘minutes factory’ model of low cost and high volume usage, which has since been adopted by several operators.

Challenge/Objectives

Airtel has a large customer base for their prepaid mobility stack, with customers relying on the ability to add funds to their phone in order to make calls or access interactive services. Several years of rapid growth were straining their benefit provisioning system, to the degree that when customers requested a customized benefit, which is available to certain segments of prepaid users, it took minutes for them to receive the customized additional minutes or for data to be provisioned.

The problem was the result of a file-based provisioning system. A new file was created at a predetermined interval, preprocessed by a mediation system, and then recharge information was extracted to offer provisioning to eligible customers. Delays throughout this system were adding up, which was frustrating customers and forcing call centers and retailers to respond to a large volume of customer support calls about services that were already being provisioned.

To offer world-class service to their valued customers, Airtel knew they needed to offer near-real-time provisioning to their prepaid users.

Decision

One of Airtel’s key requirements was to find a solution that could handle not only the high throughput this provisioning use case required, but could be used to solve other data movement problems as well.

Airtel evaluated a number of other messaging technologies from leading vendors, but found that they did not cost-effectively provide the capacity with necessary headroom to accommodate both provisioning and other use cases, and were susceptible to stability and performance problems.

Airtel selected Solace for its ability to meet the needs of their provisioning use case while providing headroom and additional functionality with which they could solve other problems as well.

Specifically, Airtel appreciated Solace’s high performance, sophisticated pub/sub fanout capabilities, and ability to guarantee delivery with zero message loss. Ensuring the reliability of their infrastructure in all conditions was critical, so other important differentiators included Solace’s built-in high availability, ability to protect against growing message spools, and safeguarding against the impact of slow consumers.

Deployment

Airtel successfully deployed their Solace message routers into production just months after purchase, thanks to a simple architecture that makes Solace technology very easy to deploy and manage.

Benefits

With Solace now passing recharge information to the benefit posting system, 97% of customers receive their benefits (customized additional minutes or data) within seconds. This has improved customer satisfaction and reduced the number of calls from frustrated customers, which has freed up retailers to focus on sales and call center reps to provide faster response to real support request.

Future Plans

Airtel has defined Solace as their enterprise wide recommended messaging technology for all use cases that involve the efficient distribution of business-critical, high-volume or time-sensitive information, and have already defined projects in areas such as 4G enablement and national mobile number portability.

Industry:

Telecommunications

Geography:

Primarily India; 20 countries across Asia and Africa

“With Solace now passing recharge information to the benefit posting system, 97% of customers receive their benefits (customized additional minutes or data) within seconds.”