Yota de Nicaragua: Stingray Service Gateway as a solution for the emerging mobile Web market in Central America
As a part of the deal with ITGLOBAL.COM, the Yota de Nicaragua cell phone carrier got access to the Stingray Service Gateway (SG) traffic management system. They were also given a full solution support package for marking and prioritizing traffic packets.
The customer’s branch: telecom operator.
Project task: to build a high capacity network with a focus on real-time protocols and relevant content for improving user loyalty to the operator. The project also needed to take local engineering specifics into account.
Solution: restructuring the current WiMAX networks; integrating Stingray Service Gateway (SG).
Results: creating personalized billing plans for customers, improved quality of “heavy” content playback: games, online videos, communication applications (Skype, Zoom), and, as a result, greater brand loyalty.
Before 2013, the Yota de Nicaragua project was developed under the direction of Russian Yota branch offices. Since 2009, the company has been actively expanding in Central and South America. All services were configured and supported from Russia.
In 2013, MegaFon purchased Scartel LLC, Yota’s founding company. As a result of this agreement, Yota de Nicaragua became a stand-alone project. By the time the paperwork was signed, it had already broken even. Nevertheless, the company faced a number of challenges that, on one hand, would require modern solutions, and, on the other, would need to take into account the specifics of the local labor market and local specialists’ technological literacy.
At this time, average traffic per subscriber began to increase, due to the rising popularity of streaming services and online games. The very model of content consumption has changed due to its increased accessibility. Surfing the web stopped being an occasional need and instead became a habit, often used for entertainment purposes.
Previously, the company focused solely on cheap mobile Internet as a service. Now the emerging market could be approached from a different side, by offering a number of new fixed billing plans and services to users.
Current Cisco SCE2020 equipment couldn’t go beyond 2 Gbit/s; therefore, it was necessary to find a new strategic solution that would simultaneously simplify local network maintenance, and improve Internet connection quality and download speed. Stingray Service Gateway (SG) was the right solution.
At the time the network was founded in 2009, the company used WiMAX due to the fact, that LTE equipment wasn’t yet available for purchase. Since Yota de Nicaragua effectively became an independent company, it was necessary to adapt to a new reality. One of the most important conditions included extending the life of the WiMAX network, because it was never designed for high speeds for the user, and gradually migrating to LTE.
Dmitry Erankevich, Yota de Nicaragua developing manager:
“When we separated from the main brand, the problems we faced were quite simple, but it was difficult to describe and technically implement them. We had to create tags in IP packets depending on application protocols. We looked for equipment that could read tags and create priority rules in the WiMAX scheduler to favor content that was more sensitive to network delays. Having made a number of requests about the functionality of Stingray Service Gateway (SG), we realized that this solution would perfectly suit the local market.”
Local market differences:
- In Latin America, the uTorrent technology that puts a high load on the network is not popular because people are used to paying for content.
- A critical lack of engineering resources leads to testing taking a long time, and high costs of errors when updating. Any network failure is considered to be a financial disaster.
- Unlike the European market, which has stagnated in recent years, the local market is still in the phase of rapid growth.
- Higher availability of services due to the topographic features and freedom in the bands due to lower competition.
“With Stingray Service Gateway (SG) at our disposal, we began to gradually lower the stress on the transport network. We decided to get move away from Cisco hardware due to its complex configuration, because it was practically impossible to find skilled experts in these labor shortage conditions. We migrated the network logic to other devices.”
Stingray Service Gateway (SG) not only solved the traffic prioritization problem, but also opened up opportunities for a more flexible marketing strategy. Integrating with billing systems has become easier: there is now a single virtual entry point. This configuration provides the highest fault tolerance.
“For the first time, we got the opportunity to offer nightly flatrates and turbo buttons, which have already become the quality standard for Russian Internet. Stingray Service Gateway (SG) helped us cut the speed according to fixed billing plans, which we couldn’t offer earlier.”
Now Yota de Nicaragua is developing personalized billing plans, where the user will determine the speed and control it themselves.
In the near future, the very use of Stingray Service Gateway (SG) will also be reconsidered, because a special formula for interactions between the system and the network through SSH commands has been developed for the local market. This practice is not a standard solution, but it has proven its effectiveness under the conditions when it is almost impossible to find the right personnel in a timely manner.
The emerging market will pay great attention to simple (packaged) solutions that local experts are able to support.