Case study

Unshackled.com

Not content with shaking up the mobile industry, startup Unshackled.com is also flipping the traditional client/agency model on its head. Made in Manchester by tsf.tech.

Manchester-based Unshackled.com is a startup set to revolutionise the way consumers purchase and manage their mobile phones and contracts. Their vision was to simplify and unbundle mobile phone packages to give control back to the consumer and save them money, whilst breaking the existing mobile operator monopoly.

Currently, consumers are restricted by expensive and uncompetitive pre-bundled mobile phone packages. Unshackled aims to liberate the consumer by allowing them to pick their own phone, their own airtime package from a large variety of MVOs and resellers, and then acts as a broker to source the consumer the most competitive finance deal to fund the purchase.

Also, rather than tying consumers into lengthy fixed-term year contracts, Unshackled enables consumers to trade in and upgrade their existing mobile phone and watch for more competitive network deals through the Mobile Watch feature.

CEO John Whittle’s vision was that the ecommerce site was built on a solid and innovative technology platform, which positioned the retailer foremost as a technology company.

What we delivered

Not content with shaking up the mobile industry, startup Unshackled.com is also flipping the traditional client/agency model on its head. Made in Manchester by tsf.tech.

  • Build a platform, which was a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) in a short timeframe to meet the scheduled launch date.
  • Design a highly responsive open-sourced architecture that had the flexibility to scale with demand and scale down during quiet times, to ensure an optimum customer experience while remaining economical.
  • Create an adaptable solution, which can easily have new features and functionality added to it.
  • Architect the entire platform from the consumer front-end website to the core application, providing the ability to aggregate multiple data sources in order to compare and source competitive mobile phone and SIM packages; manage finance brokering and facilitate payment.
  • Apply its previous experiences of building e-commerce sites to create a forward-thinking, event-sourced solution that stepped away from the traditional monolithic three-layer web stack.

Unshackled selected tsf.tech as its technology partner as it met the criteria and had proven experience in building ecommerce platforms.

tsf.tech‘s chosen technology stack offers a reactive application development platform, which enables build of high-performance applications that are elastic, resilient and responsive on open source technology.

tsf.tech built a reactive ecommerce platform using open source technologies including Scala, Akka, and Cassandra, based on fully automated cloud-first architecture with a focus on fault tolerance, resilience and scalability.

tsf.tech built a reactive ecommerce platform using open source technologies.

By taking a ‘cloud-first’ approach and utilising programming language like Scala – which supports distributed cloud-computing workloads that require concurrency and parallelism – Unshackled will be able to maximise on the elasticity and cost effectiveness of the cloud, to scale its platform up and down in-line with consumer demand.

"From the start, tsf.techs’ determination and passion to develop an ecommerce platform that will help Unshackled disrupt the mobile phone market and empower the consumer has shone through. tsf.tech has quickly built a highly innovative solution and throughout the project has adapted to requests and just got on with it to get the job done."

John Whittle

Using the AKKA framework – which is renowned for powering high volume financial services environments with near-zero downtime – tsf.tech has developed a high performance aggregation solution. The solution reaches out to mobile service providers, network operators and financial lenders, to create a personalised mobile package, while ensuring Unshackled has the ability to react quickly and outpace its competitors.

Finally, the solution has a Cassandra open-sourced database management system so it can handle large amounts of data to ensure high availability, so the consumer has the optimum online shopping experience.