Pak Telecom Mobile Limited (Ufone) is one of Pakistan’s leading telecommunications providers, with a 20% market share and more than 24 million subscribers. It has 4,000 employees, 400 franchises, 24 service centers across Pakistan and is represented in 150,000 retail outlets. Ufone is part of the Etisalat Group, a major telecommunications company, serving in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Its annual revenue is US$8 billion, and it has more than 140 million subscribers.
Ufone operates in a highly competitive market where competitors’ offerings are very similar due to the available 2G technology and network capabilities. To differentiate its services, Ufone focuses on delivering an enhanced customer experience.
Legacy servers lacked capacity to handle a high-volume increase in Ufone’s data. This caused frequent system outages, data lags, synching issues, and billing gaps, affecting services provided to customers. Difficulties in identifying and resolving issues caused by complex database operations also contributed to a 25% increase in resolution time, while the data footprint and staff costs continued to grow.
By implementing Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2 Quarter Rack and Exadata Database Machine X3-2 Quarter Rack, Ufone eliminated network and server outages, solved data replication issues and improved data reliability. It also saved more than US$2 million in capital expenditures, lowered licensing costs 4x, and reduced the data storage footprint by 4x. The company now easily manages around 2 million daily transactions and has slashed customer database and infrastructure complaints by 80%.
Through server consolidation onto Oracle Exadata, Ufone accelerated online transactions by 4x, with Oracle Exadata Smart Scan running concurrent customer queries, such as mobile billings and usage, improving scalability and reliability by 4x. Ufone condensed its data footprint by 4x, consolidating disparate legacy systems, such as the customer relationship management (CRM), call-center database and the security-solution database, reducing licensing costs by 4x.
“Ufone saved more than US$2 million in capital expenditure by consolidating 20 servers onto the Oracle Exadata platform,” said Faisal Khaliq, CIO, Ufone. “We’ve also reduced power and administration costs by 4x, consuming less energy due to reduced hardware, and we’ve eliminated additional staffing costs for managing outages and infrastructure issues. In addition, we’ve removed the need for ongoing administration to manage server operations.
“We gained an immediate return on investment through reduced licensing, staff, and computing costs and improved operational performance across the business. The speed of handling user requests and core database transaction performance improved by 18x. We have a 29x faster throughput, and we’re using 33% less overhead on active sessions, such as running queries.”
Ufone eliminated relatively frequent system outages and performance degradation issues by consolidating data from 20 legacy servers onto the Oracle Exadata platform.
“Exadata easily manages more than two million daily transactions and has eliminated outages completely, vastly improving our customer experience,” said Khaliq.
One of the key drivers for Ufone’s switch to Oracle Exadata was the difficultly experienced in identifying and solving infrastructure problems on legacy systems.
“Now our applications perform flawlessly and data is responsive and reliable,” said Khaliq. “We no longer have to focus on troubleshooting infrastructure issues. This enables us to focus on improvements, and it has increased staff productivity by 25%.”
Ufone’s legacy system’s slow data replication, along with a rapid increase in daily transactions, caused a severe data lag and data synching issues so that critical business applications were unable to perform properly, including the applications used by its call center.
Our legacy servers’ were unable to handle Ufone’s millions of daily transactions, causing replication delays of up to 15 minutes for critical data, such as billing or call-center information. Customers frequently had to call back, because updated account information was not available.
“With Oracle Exadata’s high performance and ability to manage large transaction volumes, we no longer have data lags, and our staff and customers have up-to-the-minute information on billing, calls, and services. This provides the positive customer experience Ufone is striving for,” Khaliq said.
“Since moving to the Oracle Exadata platform, customer complaints regarding infrastructure and database issues have decreased by 80%,” Khaliq continued. “There are no repeat customer calls, as we are now able to solve problems immediately by eliminating data lags through real-time data replication.”
System outages and data lags sometimes resulted in gaps in charges, resulting in a negative customer experience, especially for customers with prepaid plans where late charges can unexpectedly consume remaining credit. Ufone absorbs charges not added to a customer account within 24 hours, creating revenue discrepancies and customer dissatisfaction.
“We have eliminated bill-charge gaps by solving the data lag and delivering reliable, timely, and up-to-date data throughout our systems to Ufone customers,” Khaliq said. “We are very happy, as the reverse-call-charge issue was greatly affecting our customer experience and impacting our bottom line.”
Ufone uses Oracle for its database platform and is a strong supporter of the engineered, out-of-the-box solution. Implementing a high-performing, pre-engineered solution removed the complexity of installing a trial-and-error-prone platform.
“Out-of-the -box is the selling point for Oracle Exadata,” said Khaliq. “It is the one engineered system that performs as expected and as promised without the complexity of its competitors,” said Khaliq.
“Oracle is by far the leading database-platform player in the Asia Pacific region, and skilled Oracle professionals are readily available. When it comes to a database platform on the OLTP side, we are almost a 100% Oracle shop.”
Ufone’s implementation focused on performance improvements by redeploying applications to Oracle Exadata from end-of-life, SUN V890 hardware and current HP servers and SAN environments.
In March 2012, Ufone deployed the first Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2 HP Quarter Rack and included applications, such as its CRM, call-center database; campaign management solutions database; and security solutions database onto Oracle Exadata.
In February 2013, Ufone deployed the second Oracle Exadata Database Machine X3-2 Quarter Rack and used it to consolidate remaining applications and move the bulk-charge applications, mobile-number-portability database, scratch-card database, and franchise-commissioning database to the new platform.
The company completed the implementations for both database machines within a scheduled two week period.