A new study from Juniper Research found that operator revenues from international mobile roaming are expected to recover slightly, following a decline in 2017 after the introduction of RLAH (Roam Like at Home) in Europe and other markets.
However, overall roaming revenues are expected to stay flat over the next four years, representing around 6% of total operator billed revenues and $51 billion in value, according to the research group. RLAH enables mobile users to use their monthly voice, data and messaging allowance while roaming without incurring additional charges.
Juniper found that, driven by the introduction of RLAH packages in EU and other regions such as North America and Asia-Pacific, the roaming market witnessed a significant rise in data usage and traffic. In 2017, the research group estimates that data traffic grew by 200% globally and, by 260%, in West Europe.
“While the overall proportion of silent roamers continues to fall in many markets, driven by RLAH and cheaper bundles, the market also witnessed operators extending RLAH to more countries over the past 12-18 months,” said research author Nitan Bhas. “Additionally, a number of neighboring countries are announcing roam-free intra-regional agreements, similar to the EU.”
Juniper estimated that the proportion of silent roamers not using any data roaming services in 2018 accounted for 51% of total data roamers globally, down from 72% in 2013.