A new report from Juniper Research has valued operator revenues generated from mobile data roaming at $42 billion by 2018. This will represent 47% of the global mobile roaming revenue, compared to an estimated 36% in 2013.
The report notes that these revenues will be driven by increasing data usage, as operator migration towards 4G will induce consumers to take advantage of faster broadband networks, while reductions in roaming charges will spur more frequent and heavier usage.
LTE to Drive Roaming Revenue
The new Mobile Roaming: Regulations, Opportunities & In-flight Strategies 2014-2018 report found that with LTE deployments increasing and set to grow exponentially in all markets around the world, it will continue to fuel the explosion of roaming data usage.
However, the report notes that in order to achieve the full potential of LTE roaming, successful business models towards end-users and between operators are needed. 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. Report author Nitin Bhas added: ‘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. They need to also provide services that are both relevant and cost effective to LTE roamers’.
EU Regulatory Impact on Roaming Revenue
Meanwhile, the report found that if the proposal to end roaming charges in the EU gets the European Parliament approval, then this would significantly impact on roaming revenue levels. Under this scenario, the report forecasts that European voice, SMS and data revenues would decline by just over 20% in 2016. However, the actual volume of usage and number of active roamers will continue to rise over the forecast period.
Unsurprisingly, the proposal for such a regulation is witnessing fierce opposition from operators, including Vodafone, Orange and Telefónica.
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