We know that global roaming is a huge business, with a growing number of international carriers taking part in the industry. In fact, according to analyst firm Ovum, Mobile data will bring in around $50 billion USD by 2019 and make up 56 per cent of global roaming revenues.
The company’s Mobile Roaming Forecasts Report looks at roaming trips, traffic and revenue forecasts. It found Europe remains the largest contributor to global roaming revenues, accounting for 46 per cent, with Asia experiencing an annual growth rate of 12 percent over the period, mostly in the central and southern regions.
“the overall propensity to roam is set to improve gradually”
“The sheer size of the region contributes to the increase, as does the fact that mobile services will penetrate further into these markets over the forecast period, and the overall propensity to roam is set to improve gradually,” said Ovum senior analyst, Nishi Verma Nangia.”
Data roaming is said to be the big winner in the sources of revenue as voice revenues deteriorate. Of course, the increasing uptake of smartphones and SIM-enabled tablets and deployment of LTE networks is driving the growth of mobile data usage itself, so we can assume that a lot of the cause of voice revenue drops is due to the exponential growth in usage of free calling and messaging apps.
growth in tablets, smartphones, and LTE networks is driving the growth of mobile data usage
“To meet these expectations, operators are extending the reach of their LTE networks through agreements with operators in other markets, and in doing so are laying a solid foundation to allow travelers to maintain the same high-speed access to the Internet they have while in their home markets, ” said Nangia.
The report also states that roaming growth remains hindered by the cost of roaming and what Ovum describes as “the legacy of bill shock.” Nangia concluded by saying “But it’s not pricing alone; operators need to demonstrate the relevance of roaming service to travelers, particularly in emerging markets, to encourage roaming adoption.”