Roaming tariffs just for tablets needed

Corporate users of tablet devices are concerned about the costs of data roaming.

Almost three quarters of those questioned in a recent survey stated the high cost of data roaming abroad will pose a major challenge for their businesses over the next few years, as more people begin to use tablets for work purposes.

New research commissioned by Mach, a provider of hub-based mobile communication solutions, and carried out by YouGov, indicates that there could be a large increase in the number of corporate users roaming with tablet devices over the next three years, posing new challenges for businesses and operators alike.

The research, which questioned 101 key telecoms decision makers within enterprises, found that 58% of respondents believed that over 10% of corporate users will be using tablet devices within the next three years.

Altogether, 62% of respondents believed that this trend could pose a significant problem for their businesses due to the high costs associated with data roaming abroad.

Paul Merry, senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, stated: “The findings of this research have once again underlined the disconnect between how businesses wish to connect to data when abroad and the tariff mechanisms currently available.

“If operators move to more flexible tariff structures, this will stimulate roaming traffic on their networks and thereby maximise an important revenue stream,” continued Merry. “With the right approach to inter-operator tariffs, everyone is a winner; the operators through increased revenue, and businesses through affordable and transparent data roaming plans tailored for the latest range of mobile connected devices.”

Lokdeep Singh, vice president for technology and innovation at Mach, commented: “The research shows that while businesses are clearly interested in the potential of tablets as a mobility tool, the cost of using them while roaming abroad is still a significant cause for concern. The issue facing businesses today is that the majority of roaming tariffs were originally designed for basic feature phones which did not consume much data. It is clear that this model simply does not hold for the new age of international data roaming that tablets and smartphones are ushering in.”

An additional issue facing businesses is that tablets are continually updating information, such as virus loads and operating system downloads, if not managed correctly, whether the user is aware of it or not. This can lead to IT departments facing much higher bills than expected for roaming sessions.

“If businesses are to reap the benefits of their staff using tablet devices when abroad, the very structure of roaming agreements between operators needs to change and operators need to introduce simplified, tiered pricing targeted at the tablet user segment. At present, business users are encouraged to look to alternative ways of accessing data when abroad, such as through WiFi or WiMax, in order to keep costs to a minimum,” Singh continued.

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