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Despite the increasing trend of ‘Roam Like at Home’ packages around the world, international mobile data roaming revenues are forecast to reach $31 billion by 2022, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

This figure marks an average annual growth rate of 8 percent, compared to $21 billion in 2017.

In July, Juniper Research found that global mobile roaming revenues would drop by 11 percent this year, due in part to a 33 percent drop in European roaming revenues stemming from the EU “Roam Like at Home” regulations. 

Part of the recouped revenues come from operators in the United States, Europe, and the Far East introducing unlimited roaming data plans.

Juniper indicates this will significantly increase global average roaming data usage over the next few years, jumping from about 500 MB this year, to nearly 1.6 GB by 2022.

“There is very limited room for improvement on voice roaming in terms of increasing the scale of revenue,” research author Nitin Bhas noted. “However, with data, alongside the potential to offer customized, contextual roaming bundles and services, the cost per MB is expected to fall significantly in most regions. This will encourage ‘non-data’ roamers to become active roamers.” 

There will be increased opportunity for operators to gain revenue by converting ‘silent roamers,’ who don’t use voice and data services while roaming, to active roamers, according to Juniper.

The firm estimates that silent roamers accounted for 71 percent of mobile roamers in 2015, but declined to 67 percent by the end of 2016. Juniper predicts that figure will drop further, to 53 percent by 2022 as operators target the segment more aggressively.

“This sector will continue to offer a far larger opportunity than increasing usage amongst active roamers to offset revenue losses,” the authors wrote.

Read the full report, Mobile Roaming: Regulations, Opportunities & Emerging Sectors 2017-2022, here.

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