Feature Article

October 03, 2012

Mobile Roaming Fees Drop, But Revenue on the Rise Thanks to Higher Data Usage

If you recall the earliest days of roaming with a mobile phone, you’ll recall that doing too much of it could cost you about as much as a car payment. While roaming charges have come down in the past decade or so, mobile operators are reaping more revenue from roaming.

According to a new study from Jupiter Research, mobile operators’ revenue generated from mobile roaming is expected to exceed a staggering $80 billion by 2017.

Why? Because we are using more and more data, and we feel freer to do so as roaming charges come down. This high increase in data usage, despite a reduction in roaming charges, is expected to generate almost 8 percent of operator billed revenue by 2017, says the report, “Mobile Roaming: Challenges, Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2012-2017.”

Data revenue will grow at a CAGR of 21 percent and account for an increasing proportion of roaming revenue over the forecast period, the study found.

Roaming charges have dropped precipitously in the last 10 years due in part to increased competition among mobile service providers, but also due to regulations designed to protect mobile phone subscribers to the often staggering roaming charges of decades past.

This is particularly true in many EU nations, according to the Web site Telecom Lead UK.

The report highlights there is a need to acknowledge the increasing opportunities presented by WiFi and M2M roaming, and the potential to integrate these into existing operational strategies. Operators have the opportunity to enhance their roaming revenues and profit margins via Wi-Fi and M2M.

Said report author Nitin Bhas: “There is an increasing number of SIMs used not just within handsets but within an M2M capacity. Operators need to encourage M2M roaming, especially within the telematics segment, via partnerships with global operators.” 

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Edited by Braden Becker

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