A new report from Juniper Research has valued operator revenues generated from mobile data roaming at $42 billion by 2018, or roughly 47 percent of the global mobile roaming revenue, compared to an estimated 36% in 2013.
4G LTE is the major driver behind roaming revenues
The increasing deployment of newer and faster LTE networks worldwide will continue to fuel the explosion of roaming data usage, while reductions in roaming charges will spur more frequent and heavier usage. But new business models between operators and their customers are needed if the full potential of these newer networks are to be realized. Roaming agreements for 4G LTE are in its initial stages and operators are currently looking to partner with tier one operators in developing the right wholesale model.
“Operators also need to sort out the right economics to encourage more usage at a value to the end users in order to avoid revenue erosion,” said report author Nitin Bhas. “They need to also provide services that are both relevant and cost effective to LTE roamers.”
European Union roaming charge ban faces opposition from carriers
Meanwhile, the report found that if the proposal to end roaming charges in the EU gets the European Parliament approval, European voice, SMS and data revenues would decline by just over 20% in 2016 while the number of global roamers would continue to rise. This proposal has, unsurprisingly, been met with fierce opposition from traditional carriers.