Roaming Data analysis of business travellers abroad

Application analysis of mobile roaming traffic by business travellers finds that 73% is work related but that 99% of mobile data is not secured.

Johannesburg, South Africa – May 2017

execMobile ( announced today an analysis of the roaming traffic of businesspeople traveling abroad and found that three quarters of all wireless data is used on business related activities, but that less than 1% of the data is securely encrypted.

Businesses have long complained about the very high international roaming fees incurred by travellers. execMobile’s analysis shows that only 24% of the data is used on leisure activities such as checking social media sites, watching movies and listening to music. So, whilst their might be room for cost reductions, these services might be considered part of travel costs for executives away from home.

Nearly 33% of the traffic, whilst classified as “Web browsing”, is use of websites and portals such as Google Maps, Uber, Salesforce and other travel related websites. Again, these services are now essential tools of a mobile workforce, dependent on accessing services and data whilst mobile.

What should be of concern to enterprises, is that whilst travellers may have access to corporate VPN’s that encrypted their communications on their laptops, 99% of mobile business data is not secure, leaving the businesses vulnerable to hacking. This is because most mobile traffic is generated from phones and tablets, which have no corporate VPN protection. Only 1% of mobile data was tunnelled despite widespread security concerns about hotel and public Wi-Fi.

The analysis draws on execMobile’s data from 150+ businesses ranging in size from small businesses to large global corporations. Tens of terabytes of data was analysed to understand the business travellers’ data usage habits.

Additional insights include:

  • A third (32%) of the traffic was generated by a combination of Network Storage and Bulk Transfers (includes automated backups, updates and data transfers to or from cloud storage).
  • The average daily usage per PocketWifi devices was 168MB.
  • There was an average of 2.8 devices connected per PocketWifi (either multiple devices or users)

The data generated by execMobile’s PocketWifi devices indicated that average daily usage was surprisingly low at around 50MB per connected device.

Data Usage classification

Data Type Typical Activities Percentage of total data
VPN (tunnelling), including encrypted company email Used for most business applications such as web portals, business software and secure email 0.9%
Web browsing Web protocols and specific websites

e.g. HTTP, Google Maps, Salesforce, Uber, Travel websites

Real-time entertainment Includes streamed or buffered audio and video 16.2%
Bulk transfers Data transfer using file transfer, file hosting, updates, etc.

e.g. Windows Update, FTP; iTunes, antivirus updates or s/w downloads

Network storage Services that let users upload and download network storage content from the internet.

e.g. iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox.

Real-time communications Applications and protocols that allow interactive chat, voice, and video communication

e.g. WhatsApp, Skype, SIP, Jabber

Social networking Social networking applications.

e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Private Email Service-provider & webmail services

e.g. SMTP, POP3, webmail (Gmail)


About execMobile

Awarded as an innovator, execMobile continues to lead in mobile data roaming solutions. The roaming management platform provides enterprise control and security, with real-time visibility into travellers’ usage via a cloud based management platform. Network managers can analyse usage patterns and data requirements of business travellers carrying our PocketWifi. Traffic can be routed through a VPN or ISP for added security and efficiency. Non-work related traffic can be blocked, and customized alerts can warn employees when data limits have been reached.