Long-standing cooperation
with Play Mobile

About the company
Since 2004, Play Mobile has been helping banks, payment systems, online stores and thousands of companies in Uzbekistan to organize interaction with their customers.
The company offers a variety of VAS services (RBT, Pin Check, TV chat and others) and a wide range of SMS services (from messaging to voting and quizzes).

In September 2019, outgoing SMS traffic surpassed 130 million.

Play Mobile is Uzbekistan's messaging market leader.
Early years of cooperation
At the beginning, the company provided mobile content services under the FlashFon brand. It implemented various VAS services for mobile subscribers in Uzbekistan based on SMS, IVR, and RBT technologies.

In 2012, Play Mobile decided to replace its existing software from another vendor with a WINGS solution. WINGS was chosen due to its higher flexibility and functionality, and for the purpose of expanding the number of subscriber interaction channels.
Informing customers

Play Mobile started developing SMS messaging services during the downturn in the content services market. This service is implemented in cooperation with mobile network operators in Uzbekistan (only direct contracts).

The company provides SMS messaging services for banks, payment systems, Internet service providers, insurance companies, electricity companies, government agencies, etc.

Provision of an SMS messaging service for unified nationwide processing center UzCard was an important step in the development of this direction. Today, Uzcard is the main payment system, providing services to 30 banks in Uzbekistan and a number of payment services, such as PayMe, Click, UZPAYNET and others. The number of credit card owners is constantly increasing. At present, Uzcard serves over 17 million credit cards in Uzbekistan, with a population of just over 33.5 million people. At the end of Q1 2019, the number of credit cards connected to the SMS messaging service reached just over 9.6 million. All SMS transaction notifications concerning these credit cards are processed by Play Mobile using its deployed WINGS solutions.

Increase in the number of messages sent led to the need to deploy the WINGS Messaging Platform in 2018 in addition to the WINGS VAS platform already in use. The introduction of this special-purpose messaging platform that meets the current needs of this business has significantly increased throughput and reduced message processing time. It takes no more than 20 milliseconds for the system to generate and send a message to the operator. This makes it possible to process over 1000 SMS per second on just one server.

The messaging platform supports two-way communications (incoming and outgoing SMS). The application not only initiates transmission of information to the subscriber, but also generates responses containing the information requested by the subscriber or the results of such operations. So, UzbekEnergo subscribers can receive information about their personal account status and a new password. They can also use other features after sending a special SMS text to a short code.

A number of SMS messaging services for government agencies in Uzbekistan have been declared "Mission Critical". For example, when making notarial transactions, the client receives an SMS message with the exact payment amount and a 4-digit confirmation code. Only after the received code is entered into the electronic system can the notarial action be completed. Service failure may result in suspension of the work of notary publics throughout the country.

The messaging platform allows Play Mobile to provide a mass calling service without involving contact center operators. When a customer receives a call, a pre-recorded voice message is played. The voice message can contain an audio file, a pre-configured IVR menu, or text read out via text-to-speech technology.

Deployment of the second instance of the messaging platform was completed in early 2020. This increased reliability and performance through the use of two simultaneously running systems (active-active).
Provision of services based on WINGS USSD Portal
The USSD Portal platform module enabled Play Mobile to quickly roll out new USSD services. The solution allows Play Mobile staff to create arbitrary USSD menus, query external services, build dynamic menus, and much more.

The SMPP and SIGTRAN protocols are used to connect to mobile network operators.
Sometimes, SIGTRAN connection is mandatory for mobile operators to be able to implement USSD services because they don't have a USSD gateway or the gateway is limited. This removes the need for mobile operators to buy new hardware or additional licenses.

With SIGTRAN, you can bypass the limits on the number of connections to the USSD portal. It also enables you to more flexibly manage traffic, for example, USSD session timeouts. This is extremely important for payment services where a subscriber may need to enter a long code. In addition, SIGTRAN connection increases fault tolerance as a whole.

The use of USSD services is very important, since mobile Internet coverage in Uzbekistan's regions is uneven. There is stable reception in major cities, while in other parts of the country, the situation is different. USSD queries work instantly, you only need a phone (supported on all existing GSM standard phones). The queries do not require an Internet connection, they are available in roaming and even when your account balance is negative.

Upon request by Play Mobile, we created a range of USSD services for the banking sector: a service was launched for UzCard, for the National Bank of Uzbekistan, the Uzbekistan's largest bank, as well as solutions for other banks in the country. These services allow subscribers, through USSD, to pay for various services, make money transfers, check balances, and personalize their profile.

A remarkable feature of the USSD service for UzCard is that it is also used by the UzCard mobile app in cases where there is no Internet access, i.e. the app uses USSD as a backup channel.
Technical support
WINGS provides 24-hour technical support for its deployed solutions. This includes system administration of servers and monitoring.
Development plans
The following are the next phases of cooperation between WINGS and Play Mobile:

  • Implementation of geo-redundancy to further increase reliability of the services provided. In cases where one of the data centers have limitations, the backup data center will take over the load, allowing Play Mobile to continue to provide efficient uninterrupted services.
  • Expanding the number of communication channels: push notifications to customers' mobile apps, telegram.
    "Play Mobile provides a wide range of mobile services in Uzbekistan. The WINGS platform is used to provide SMS and call services to various companies. Over our years of cooperation, WINGS has proven to be a reliable partner. We look forward to further mutually beneficial and fruitful cooperation."
    — Ernest Patapatov, Director, Play Mobile.