Data roaming the new growth area

Posted by IT-Online on Nov 21, 2012

Mobile data roaming revenues will grow by 21% per year between 2012 and 2017, reaching over $35-billion in 2017, driven by an increasing number of active data roamers using data services while abroad.

This is according to a new report from Juniper Research, which also notes that the number of silent data roamers, 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.

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, “Mobile Roaming: Challenges, Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2012-2017”, observes 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 notes: “As data roaming costs are further reduced and smartphone owners find so-called OTT (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 Juniper report also finds that total mobile roaming revenues are set to exceed $80-billion by 2017, compared to over $46-billion this year.

Western Europe will account for the highest proportion of the global mobile data roaming revenue.

WiFi charging model change

MWEB will soon be changing the existing Wi-Fi Hotspot offering from a Minutes based model to a Megabyte based model**. This means you’ll receive 300 Megabytes of Wi-Fi Data for FREE* each month instead of getting 300 Free* minutes of Wi-Fi, once you have been migrated onto the new model. You will still be able to use your Wi-Fi data at any MWEB approved Wi-Fi hotspot locations available countrywide. MWEB will be migrating customers onto the new Wi-Fi model between 4 December 2012 – 15 January 2013.