Nextel boosts digital development in partnership with Dextra

From time to time, a special kind of synergy develops between a client and their service provider. And as a result, the fruits of their labor go far beyond a mere product or service. This type of relationship was undoubtedly the case when Nextel partnered with Dextra in mid-2016. By developing custom-made, integrated applications, the two successfully realized the wireless service operator’s digital transformation, and subsequent leap into the world of contemporary IT.

The relationship began when Nextel decided to create a small, 3-person IT team with the highly ambitious goal of developing their own innovative, transformative digital product in-house. Dubbed “Happy”, the platform was designed with the goal of giving customers total autonomy to initiate new wireless plans, and even create their own, customized service plans – all through an intuitive, 100% digital platform.

The idea was that Happy would, among other things, allow customers to purchase data and minutes; view their own usage in real time; and change their forms of payment whenever they’d like. The objective was to give their customers near total control over their purchasing decisions.

Clearly, the size and complexity of this mission were far from simple. And that’s where Dextra came in, offering their rich experience in mobile development. The relationship began with Dextra providing guidance on the conception and development of such a product.

The work included aspects of application development and the implementation of various functionalities. Some pre-existing functions were remodeled from the ground up, starting with the principles of User Interface Design (i.e. UI), to predict user needs, and User Experience (UX), which is considered the overall impressions and experience of the end-user.

The application’s front end was developed entirely by Dextra, based on the guidance of Nextel. Ultimately, the project represented a significant change in the operator’s technological orientation and direction. Before, the company’s apps were developed in a native language, meaning, specific languages were used for each of their operational systems with which they operated (e.g. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android). This approach resulted in the burden of two separate development processes, separate support platforms, and more.

“Since day one, we gained an invaluable partnership, with a mutual desire to bring our ambitious project to fruition,” said Weverton Bernardes, Digital Manager of Nextel Brazil.
With the successful release of “Happy”, Nextel expanded the footprint and positioning within the Brazilian cellular market.

My Nextel

My Nextel was an application developed in-house by the wireless service provider, which came to be their primary digital platform shortly after the release of “Happy”. Today, it services Nextel’s entire post-paid customer base.

It is a large and very important product for Nextel. However, it was in need of improved maintenance and updates. With the aid of Dextra, the application was completely remade. The project was motivated by Nextel’s goals, including: making customers’ lives easier and increasing their overall satisfaction; and reducing the company’s costs associated with telephone-based customer service centers. In order to do so, it was necessary to change the entire platform on which the app was originally built.

With My Nextel, the wireless operator decided to employ a hybrid technology – React Native, Facebook’s open-source language, which allows for developing a single app that works on both major platforms (iOS and Android). This allowed Nextel to reduce development costs and minimize bugs. For this project, Dextra once again took the helm, with one of our professionals serving as the technical lead.

This project led to Nextel increasing the size of their Digital team and their degree of focus on digital initiatives. It also deepened their partnership with Dextra, who encouraged the enlisting of React Native to lend insight regarding the new architecture and identify changes that needed to be made.

A number of new functionalities were introduced in 2018, and many more are surely on the way throughout 2019. This flexibility — the ability to introduce new functionalities quickly and without disruptions — is owed to the new architecture at the center of the technology.

“We want to be the Nubank of telecommunications, in which the customer is able to easily resolve issues on their own, without needing to speak with anyone,” Tom explained. “This shift we’ve made in our tech operations made us industry leaders in customer satisfaction among Brazilian telcos, according to ReclameAqui.”

“Nextel apps also have some of the highest reviews within the telecommunications categories in both the Apple and Google app stores. This reflects our customers’ growing satisfaction with our company’s digital products.”

Other Fronts

Dextra is also working with Nextel to help improve their telephonic customer service infrastructure, or ARU (Audible Response Units). The existing automated technology was dated, which complicated our efforts towards development. We adopted an action plan that consisted of increased coverage and frequency of testing, and reduced waiting times for callers.

This alone resulted in enormous gains for Nextel.

Dextra developed a system underneath the pre-existing URA using Node.js, a coding and structuring language that is significantly faster than the legacy system. The updated codebase created a stable, simple foundation for future innovation; thus further improving the value of the product.

The partnership between Nextel and Dextra also included a complete overhaul of Nextel’s website. The goal was to make it so Nextel customers could accomplish more when accessing The use of a new language reduced response time and increased the time customers spend navigating the site; therefore, keeping them more engaged and consuming more products and services.

Results & Conclusions

- Development using React Native led to major savings in time, resources, and reduced errors.
- Improved UI and UX significantly increased customer satisfaction
- The introduction of a 100% digital application led to a wider digital transformation within the company
- Reformulating pre-existing apps improved customer reviews in the Apple and Google app stores.
- New resources planned and implemented with zero negative impact upon customers.

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