Gas Station Chain Cuts Costs and Optimizes Operations with 4G LTE

Verizon 4G LTE and CradlePoint powering United Oil's gas stations.

By Tom Loutzenheiser on January 3, 2013

For United Oil, filling up the tank doesn’t mean just another forgettable trip to the corner gas station. The company, which started as a small, family owned business and has since grown to 126 retail stations throughout Southern California, prides itself on its award-winning architecture, distinctive facilities, exceptional customer service, and unparalleled value.

The same standards of excellence apply to United Oil’s IT operations, where everything from employee management, inventory control, pump sensors, and ATMs are driving value for the company.

United Oil had been using DSL for connectivity to their 126 stores. The costs for broadband service could vary dramatically—two identical gas stations across the street from one another could incur anywhere from $50 to $150 per month in Internet service charges. Mobile broadband was appealing, and in fact the company had used CradlePoint solutions for several years as a wireless backup solution.

“DSL billing was out of control. With mobile broadband, however, we can pool our data plans with Verizon, so if one area sees more usage, we don’t get hit with overages,” noted Director of Technology, Bill De La Espriella. In addition, with 4G LTE, the company felt they now had sufficient bandwidth to run their custom applications and no longer needed wired connections for the majority of their facilities.

De La Espriella is also doing away with traditional phone lines in locations where 4G LTE is available, choosing instead to implement a VoIP phone system. The cost savings of going to 4G LTE from more traditional technologies have been significant and provide the company with more stable and predictable broadband/telecom costs. In fact, the broadband cost savings paid for the CradlePoint solutions in a matter of months.

De La Espriella continued, “We’ve identified a way to not only optimize the technology in almost all of our stores but also to drive more money to our bottom line in the process. We have the reliable bandwidth we need to run our various applications, our telephony system, and even new product and service offerings for our customers. And, we can manage it all centrally using CradlePoint’s WiPipe Central to reduce the high costs of wired bandwidth while eliminating outages that would affect our stores’ business.”

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