A new report from Juniper Research forecasts that mobile data roaming revenues will grow by 21% per year between 2012 and 2017, reaching over $35 billion in 2017, driven by an increasing number of active data roamers using data services while abroad.
However, the report notes that the number of silent data roamers, not actively using any data services, still fear bill shock, as this continues to be markedly higher when compared to silent voice roamers. Silent roamers exercise caution or do not use voice and data services while roaming and represent a non-user segment.
Data Roaming, The next growth driver
Powered by the proliferation in smartphones and a dramatic growth in data usage, data roaming is being seen as a key growth driver for operators, albeit with cost-effective packages coupled with subscriber control over usage.
The report found that the majority of mobile customers were using voice services when roaming abroad, but this offered network operators little opportunity to add value or enhance services. Data roaming, on the other hand, provided operators with the opportunity to convert ‘non data’ roamers to become active data roamers by the introduction of data bundles and roaming plans.
SMS Roaming revenue to remain a modest proportion
The new report, Mobile Roaming: Challenges, Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2012-2017, observed that as data roaming revenues grow, and instant messaging apps proliferate, SMS roaming adoption and revenue growth will remain modest, relative to data and voice revenues.
Report author Nitin Bhas noted: “As data roaming costs are further reduced and smartphone owners find so-called OTT (Over-the-Top) services – such as eBuddy and Whatsapp – a cheaper alternative, the average spend per SMS roaming will decline over the forecast period”.