Data usage will account for more than half of global roaming sales within five years, with new research highlighting the increasing importance of IPX peering deals.
A new report from Ovum forecasts that global data roaming revenues will hit $50 billion (€40.2bn) in 2019, the fastest growing area during the next five years given the surge in internet usage and decline in voice. The report said as more LTE networks are launched and smartphone penetration increases, data roaming revenues will only get larger.
Europe will continue to be the biggest contributor to roaming revenues, accounting for 46 percent of the market. However, the biggest growth during the next five years will come from Central and Southern Asia, which will experience a compound annual growth rate of 12 percent between now and 2019.
Nishi Verman Nangia, Senior Analyst at Ovum, commented: “The sheer size of the [Asian] region contributes to the increase, as does the fact that mobile services will penetrate further into these markets over the forecast period, and the overall propensity to roam is set to improve gradually.”
She said one area that is potentially holding back the market is the cost of roaming services and fear of bill shock, despite the European Commission’s attempt to eradicate the latter.
She warned: “But it’s not pricing alone; operators need to demonstrate the relevance of roaming service to travelers, particularly in emerging markets, to encourage roaming adoption.”
Operators have been signing IPX peering deals in an attempt to help its customers roaming in other territories. Recent deals have been between Telenor and Telefónica, Tele2 and Aicent, and Telenor and Vodafone.
Nangia added: “Operators are extending the reach of their LTE networks through agreements with operators in other markets, and in doing so are laying a solid foundation to allow travelers to maintain the same high-speed access to the Internet they have while in their home markets.”