Roamers use Data more than Voice

Key findings related to global mobile roaming traffic analysis released late in 2011 indicate that data consumption has shown rapid year-on-year growth (97%) and has for the first time exceeded voice traffic volumes (for roaming sessions). In contrast to the rise of mobile data traffic, voice traffic growth remained flat across the period.

The evolution of smarter mobile devices is clearly changing the way we communicate when travelling. The decline in the popularity of voice speaks to the rise of alternative, yet immediate, communications platforms such as instant messaging and social networking, while SMS and email have continued to erode the volumes of voice traffic for roaming sessions. The huge increase in download volumes also demonstrates just how popular apps are becoming, with consumers wishing to download and interact with them even while abroad.

It should however also be noted that SMS traffic volumes have continued to grow (by 23 %), illustrating the continued popularity of this communication channel (and why operators continue to charge excessively for SMS sent when abroad). This growth can however in our opinion be attributed to the following related observations:

– Roaming subscribers are using double the data that they were using a year ago, however

– users in their home networks consume 300 x the data that they do when they are abroad!

For the industry there is enormous potential in removing this disparity and empowering users to roam without having to resort to SMS communication. This can only be achieved by providing pricing choice and transparency to the user, so removing the current issue of ‘bill-shock’.” The primary form of defence for 40% of corporate users and 60% of other users is to simply turn their phones off!

For those who require a data connection when abroad, pre-paid solutions which allow a user to know the costs associated with roaming data are an obvious way to ensure roaming fears are left behind.

Whether you are a traveller or a mobile executive, social or work productivity when abroad can be increased by ensuring a reliable, fast roaming internet connection. Further, the increase in data traffic can be attributed to the proliferation of Voice over IP applications (Viber, Skype, Fring etc) which all allow voice \video communication, once a data connection exists.