Introduction

Of all the vital industries in the economy, the Telecom industry is the most susceptible to disruptions. This is because new mobile technologies are constantly released into the market and there is an evergreen demand for network coverage. For example, 5G is a technology that has currently entered the market. It promises great speed, better bandwidth, and improved latency issues. This may be a boon to the consumers, but it presents a lot of problems for the Telecom companies, the biggest being competition from non-telecom companies. A lot of telecom companies are also still stuck in 2G and 3G. To overcome these problems, they must adopt new mobile technologies rapidly to gain customers and provide them better services than their competitors. As a result, a rapid digital transformation has occurred in the last two decades and the industry landscape has changed greatly. But this transformation spree has led companies to end up with monolithic legacy systems since that was the dominant architecture until recently. Monolith applications have a range of problems like large size, slow performance, maintenance issues etc.

Monoliths and the Telecom industry

Telecom companies that have a mobile application based on the monolithic architectures have a set of unique problems and need modernization to sustain themselves in the changing technology landscape. A large mobile application is bound to be slow and difficult to scale up. Different teams cannot work separately to achieve different goals. They all have to work together to deploy new installments which makes it difficult to innovate and make changes to a particular portion of the application. The advent of microservices has caused a paradigm shift in software development. They are an antidote to the problems of monolithic legacy systems. Since they are built as separate services, individual teams can develop and deploy changes to their particular module. Teams can easily scale their services up based on the growing user hits.

One of our clients is one such telecom company which held the monopoly over mobile phone services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until the last decade. They had a monolithic mobile application that was too large to handle and riddled with complexities. It crashed frequently and couldn’t sustain itself when the user hits crossed a certain limit. Their vision to penetrate the rural market and cover the religious pilgrims was hindered by the application’s monolithic architecture and the legacy database model also made it difficult to scale up and perform well. As a telecom company, they were not able to meet the targeted goals and were losing revenue.

Seamless Microservices Migration

It became clear that rewriting the monolithic application into an alternative microservices application was the best thing to do. Aspire Systems calculated the consequences of this move and found out that there would be five times reduction in the application size and as a result, maintenance would become easier. This would also pave the way for seamless deployment in cloud and on premise.

The migration from a monolithic to microservices architecture with fully secured multifactor authentication proved to be a brand differentiator by providing the application with the following benefits. It streamlined the SIM registration process through authorized points of sale and gave rise to an efficient balance recharge and owner transfer systems.

Telecom revolution in the Middle East

Easy registrations of SIM cards meant more sales and better reach of services and products to customers. This application helps users from the entire socio-economic spectrum – people from cities, villages, native residents, pilgrims, women, and the elderly. Merchants and PoS users can now operate 24/7 and cover all the regions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Central, Eastern, Western, and Southern). Customers can now buy SIM cards and register them on the same spot. Hajj Pilgrims can buy, register, and recharge SIM cards in the airport or in Mecca. There are various products, discounts, and promotion for users and customers can avail them as well. The solution is highly customer centric and creates channels with various touchpoints. The channels ensure that customers of all demographics are covered and they get the best customer experience. The solution also provides services based on the telecom services usage patterns.

Conclusion

All these benefits were made possible because of the microservices architecture. It allowed the client to have reusable components that can be used by other applications and used independently. With a decentralized data management, they can now focus on individual modules effectively. Their automated infrastructure management system streamlines their priorities and saves them 30-40% in costs. Above all these benefits, they were able to achieve their two most important business goals of increasing their user base and revenue. Based on the above strategic and tactical benefits, it is safe to say that Microservices architecture has transformed the way a major telecom company in the Middle East operates and has in turn initiated yet another revolution in the telecom industry as a whole.

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Sriram Sundaresan

Sriram Sundaresan

Sriram is a biotechnologist-turned content writer who writes about emerging trends in software engineering. When he’s not writing, he’s researching history, or learning to cook up tasty treats. He is passionate about cinema with his favorite director being Quentin Tarantino. He loves to keep fit by playing football in his spare time.
Sriram Sundaresan