Mobile data sees roaming boom


Mobile data roamers to generate over $35 billion in revenues by 2017

Mobile data roaming revenues will grow by almost a quarter year on year between now and 2017, according to new research.

At an increase of 21% per year between 2012 and 2017, mobile data roaming revenues are set to reach over $35 billion in 2017, driven by an increasing number of active data roamers using data services while abroad, said a new study from Juniper Research. This figure of over $35 billion will represent over 40% of total roaming revenues in 2017, said Juniper.

However, the report notes that the number of silent data roamers, those 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, Juniper claimed.

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.

The new report 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 over the top services, such as eBuddy and Whatsapp, a cheaper alternative, the average spend per SMS roaming will decline over the forecast period.'

The report also found that total mobile roaming revenues are to exceed $80 billion by 2017, compared to over $46 billion this year. Also, Western Europe will account for the highest proportion of the global mobile data roaming revenue.


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