Using Lean, Integrated WSO2 Products, m-creations Delivered Mobile Phone Top-up Solution in Time for the Holiday Shopping Season
One of Germany’s foremost payment technology providers is leading innovation in the European mobile market with its real-time user system for mobile phone top-ups. Designed to meet the
demand for greater convenience in mobile payment services, the prepaid platform allows consumers to add phone credits in real time to their existing service plans via an easy-to-use application, the mobile Web, or conventional Internet.
The prepaid platform was architected by m-creations,
specialists in mobile information processing, using the
WSO2 Carbon enterprise middleware platform. By
taking advantage of WSO2’s highly configurable, fully
componentized middleware, m-creations was able
to develop the first stage of the platform in just three
months, launching in time for the busy holiday season.
Today, the prepaid platform designed by m-creations takes advantage of WSO2 middleware to
seamlessly integrate with multiple mobile platforms and deliver top-up features and incentives for
prepaid mobile users across more than 20 German mobile phone network providers.
"We liked that the componentized
WSO2 Carbon middleware would let us
package everything up into one custom
product that fully supports prepaid
platform’s business objectives. "
m-creations managing director
Three Months to Meet the Holiday Shopping Season
The payment technology business approached m-creations in August 2012 to discuss building a
new application as part of a prepaid platform focusing on mobile phone top-up. The team had a
clear vision of the application, a well-defined set of expectations — and a hard deadline to launch
in three months to meet the holiday shopping season. The business knew that m-creations had
been delivering mobile payment solutions for several years, and it was counting on the company
to leverage that expertise to achieve a quick turnaround.
“For our customer, the initial general demands for the new application system were quite simple.
It had to enable prepaid mobile users to add more minutes to their account in real time via any
Internet access channel. It also had to be easy to use, with no requirements to register and
no barriers to startup,” recalled Kambiz Darabi, managing director at m-creations. “For us, the
challenge wasn’t executing the customer’s vision; it was getting the application to market by the
start of November.”
Facing just three months to deliver the solution, m-creations realized the need for a highly
configurable and flexible middleware platform that would minimize the need for programming
workload. Additionally, the more pre-integrated features the middleware platform could provide,
the more m-creations could focus on actual application development, rather than integrating and
“With a such short time to market, we knew we wouldn’t be able to build the entire solution
from scratch,” said Mr. Darabi. “Therefore, we needed our base middleware to provide as many
features as possible, not only for publishing services, but also for eventually managing those
services as the initial application evolves into the full prepaid platform.”
Componentized and Configurable: The WSO2 Advantage
The platform considerations supported m-creation’s decision first to evaluate and then to
implement WSO2’s lean, open source Carbon middleware as the basis for the platform’s
application framework. Fully componentized and OSGi-compliant, the WSO2 Carbon platform
encapsulates service-oriented architecture (SOA) functionality, such as data services, business
process management, enterprise service bus (ESB) routing and transformation, and rules and
security into a suite of fully integrated products that plug and play together.
“We liked that the componentized WSO2 Carbon middleware would let us package everything
up into one custom product that fully supports prepaid platform’s business objectives,” Mr. Darabi
explained. “We also saw that this would allow us to pick the products we need today with the
confidence that we could add other functionality to support future goals as needed.”
The comparatively small footprint of the WSO2 Carbon platform also helped to address the
prepaid platform deployment demands for software that could run entirely on two hosted Linux
All Carbon products share common services for enterprise-class management, security, clustering,
logging, statistics, and tracing, among other capabilities. The ability to eliminate redundancy
through this approach has resulted in the entire WSO2 Carbon platform requiring less than 500
MB of memory to run.
Beating the Clock with WSO2
Based on its evaluation of WSO2, m-creations decided to implement four WSO2 Carbon products
to support Phase 1 of the prepaid platform project: WSO2 Data Services Server (DSS),
WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus, WSO2 Application Server, and WSO2 Identity Server. Additionally,
speed up development.
WSO2’s pre-integrated middleware products provided the time-saving advantages that
m-creations predicted, as did the configurability of WSO2 ESB. Collectively, these features
eliminated days of integration and coding that otherwise might have been required.
“We could concentrate on interfaces to the outside
world payment providers and to the top-up service
providers because the technical architecture layers
to build the system were prebuilt with WSO2’s
middleware,” Mr. Darabi noted. “It has been the classic
advantage of buy over build.”
Significantly, m-creations discovered a third advantage during the development process: WSO2’s
"We were able to deliver an innovative
solution for our customer in a
remarkably short time because we
worked with WSO2’s middleware. "
m-creations managing director
“The testing abilities provided by WSO2 have given us opportunities to quickly test whether an
idea works or not and make quick modifications when necessary,” Mr. Darabi explained. “We don’t
have to wait for a whole new software life cycle because WSO2 lets us put the program inside the
server and see immediately what is happening.”
Using WSO2’s software, m-creations met the three-month project deadline, and in early November
2012, Phase 1 of the prepaid platform project was up and running.
“For the first stage of this project, the most important thing was being able to meet the deadline
and coincide with the start of the holiday shopping season,” said Mr. Darabi. “WSO2 did just that; it
was amazing and would not have been possible with any other platform.”
From Concept to Deployment: Prepaid Platform Phase 1
Today, the prepaid platform mobile solution enables the German payment technology provider
to stand out in a competitive market by competing on innovation rather than price alone. Air time
for more than 20 German mobile phone network providers can now be purchased through the
platform, which offers consumers of prepaid mobile phones a number of advantages, including:
- Free account summary and a display of currently available prepaid mobile phone credit.
- Hassle-free top-ups for prepaid mobile phones; no registration required.
- Real-time top-ups, 24x7 and 365 days of the year.
“For customers who have traditionally only had the option of recharging at stores, the prepaid
platform presents a simpler solution,” said Mr. Darabi. “Now customers can use the mobile
application directly on their phones without having to enter voucher card information and a pin
number, making it easier to top up than ever.”
The prepaid platform for mobile telecom built by m-creations is based on WSO2 Carbon middleware products running
as virtual machines on a cloud powered by Linux servers.
Behind the scenes, WSO2 middleware provides the underlying architecture on which the
prepaid platform runs. The Web applications are hosted on a WSO2 Application Server cluster
that consumes a range of APIs exposed as SOAP and REST services. In parallel, WSO2 Data
Services Server is used for providing the front-end applications a unified and decoupled services
layer for interacting with back-end data stores.
Residing between the application and services layers, WSO2 ESB provides service proxies and
message transformations for front-end applications. WSO2 Identity Server is used for securing the
message channels while providing user authentication for the service consumers.
The cross-cutting service metadata and shared assets are stored inside the WSO2 Governance
Registry, enabling the platform components to integrate through different delivery channels.
All of the WSO2 Carbon servers run as virtual machines on a cloud with two hosted Linux systems.
“We designed the prepaid platform on a WSO2 base because it offers flexibility and components
that we can add,” Mr. Darabi said. “We stand by that decision today; the quality of the end
project — a completely new product — was incomparable.”
Looking Ahead: Prepaid Platform Phase 2
In the months since the prepaid platform’s initial release, m-creations has largely focused on using
WSO2 middleware to make enhancements to the current system. A new help desk module and
an administration module have been implemented, with both making extensive use of WSO2’s
With the resounding success of the prepaid platform’s mobile app deployment and release, the
German payment technology provider has confirmed that it will continue working with m-creations
for Phase 2 of the project. m-creations will now support the prepaid platform expansion from
mobile application to prepaid platform showcasing direct partners and white label solutions.
“As mobile service system developers, a success story for us is defined by our ability to meet the
deadline and time frame,” Mr. Darabi noted. “We were able to deliver an innovative solution for
our customer in a remarkably short time because we worked with WSO2’s middleware. We look
forward to expanding our use of WSO2 as we build on this success.”