Essar Telecom Kenya was the 4th GSM licensee in Kenya, having launched under the brand “yu” in November 2008. The company offered a full suite of mobile services and prided itself on having built the best network using the latest equipment ensuring clarity and reliability, growing rapidly to in excess of 3m customers before selling its assets to Safaricom and Airtel in 2014.
Yu’s relationship with Cerillion started in the summer of 2008; when Yu (then known as Econet Wireless Kenya) contracted Cerillion to implement its Interconnect Manager system to manage all of Yu’s interconnect agreements.
Following the selection of the interconnect system, Yu then chose the Cerillion Express CRM & Billing solution to fulfil its customer management requirements, including a very tight implementation timescale to meet a license requirement for commercial launch in the Autumn.
Cerillion worked in close partnership with Yu having supported them through a change in the core GSM network, including re-integration to a new IN platform in less than 2 months, and announced a major contract extension to support Yu’s impressive growth.
“ Cerillion helps us deliver a much better customer experience because the CRM Plus product is specifically designed for telecoms services. We are able to query the system much faster than other platforms, and when we train our CSRs, they very quickly grasp the functionality because of the ease of navigation and usability of the CRM interface. ”
As the most recent entrant to the Kenya market, Yu operated in a highly competitive market alongside three other mobile operators.
Key challenges for the business support systems included:
- Four month implementation period to meet license conditions
- Deliver a superior customer service experience for prepaid users
- Keeping operational costs to a minimum, but without compromising functionality or performance
- Close integration between CRM system and IN prepaid platform
- Efficient roaming and interconnect partner management
ResultsAgainst very demanding project timescales, Cerillion rose to the challenge and successfully implemented its Interconnect and CRM & Billing solutions in time for the launch of Yu in November 2008.
“Cerillion was key to our launch by delivering both our CRM and Interconnect solutions against very tight timescales, and exceeding our expectations” commented Duncan Watta, Head of IT at Essar Telecom Kenya Limited. “Cerillion’s project management was excellent, and I think because of that, Cerillion was ahead of the rest of our vendors in terms of delivery.”
Another big milestone followed when Yu undertook a complete swap of its core network and IN platform, requiring a completely new set of provisioning and mediation interfaces. “Cerillion definitely understood the potential risks because of their experience with similar implementations, but were able to commit to a very tight project delivery of just 7 weeks”, adds Duncan Watta. “The project team analysed the new network elements and interface requirements, and even challenged the product specifications in some areas. Ahead of schedule, Cerillion had re-integrated with the new network, again exceeding our expectations.”
Cerillion provided Yu with a functionally rich, end-to-end solution which streamlined its key customer management processes and helped it to deliver a much higher level of customer service than is usually offered to prepaid subscribers in Africa. Duncan Watta explained “Cerillion has helped us to differentiate through a faster return on investment (ROI) and very low IT OPEX, much lower than globally recognised standards. We are operating our complete BSS/OSS at less than half of the cost of some of our competitors. This just wouldn’t be possible if we were running a big name CRM platform, for example.”
“However this is not a compromise on functionality or performance, in fact Cerillion helps us deliver a much better customer experience because the CRM Plus product is specifically designed for telecoms services. We are able to query the system much faster than other platforms, and when we train our CSRs, they very quickly grasp the functionality because of the ease of navigation and usability of the CRM interface.”
Yu also achieved significant benefits through the ease of use of Cerillion’s interconnect product. As Duncan Watta summarised, “with Interconnect Manager we are able to turnaround very quick billing and settlement times with other operators, leading to much better revenue management for us and very good financial visibility.”