89% of mobile network operators (MNOs) expect roaming data traffic to increase over the next three years, according to Ovum’s Monetizing Next-Generation Roaming Opportunities survey. Over a third of operator respondents believe roaming data traffic will increase by more than 30%.
This significant increase in data roaming traffic is an opportunity for operators, but it is also a challenge. How MNOs manage, monetize and deliver next-gen roaming services will determine if they can capitalize on this new growth and drive profitability.
Users have become accustomed to high-quality data services in their home markets and now want to see their roaming services deliver similar levels of service. This is only being accelerated by the adoption of LTE and the availability of high-definition voice and video services. 63% of respondents to the Ovum survey expect social networking to stimulate roaming traffic growth while 45% see streaming as a traffic driver.
Users want a high quality of experience (QoE) no matter where they are, affordable roaming rates and roam-like-home type services. The challenge for MNOs is to meet these expectations cost-efficiently. This means rethinking their approach to roaming and adopting business models that go far beyond basic voice and SMS services.
If they choose not to, the risk is that they pass up the opportunity to monetize this traffic growth and, worse yet, lose customers because of poor quality of service. 63% of survey respondents agree that poor QoE can lead to domestic churn.
58% of the survey respondents say that they plan to expand capacity management on roaming interconnect to improve QoE for their roaming customers. That is a relatively low percentage considering the opportunity to both build the brand in the eyes of the consumer with superior roaming services while monetizing increased roaming usage.
What most operators are struggling with is balancing the delivery of next-gen roaming services with margin pressure due to operational costs and regulation. 82% of the survey respondents agree that improving roaming cost efficiency is the top priority for home network operators, while 76% of the respondents agree that it is the top priority for a visited network operators.
Check back next week to read part two of Jeff’s blog and tell us in the comments your view on the research.