Imagine the scenario. You’re all aboard; your flight is on time and about to take off. You’ve been asked by the flight crew to switch off your mobile phone or put it on ‘flight mode’, but before you do, you go to settings and turn off data roaming. After all, no one wants to return home to bill-shock of €22,000 for uploading photos to Facebook. Missing out on social media? It’ll be Wi-Fi or no-fi when it comes to internet usage this holiday. You are a silent roamer.
Two things happened this summer which significantly altered the telecoms landscape: firstly on 15th June, roaming charges across Europe were scrapped. Secondly, and as a result of the first, we have seen an extraordinary rise in roaming traffic.
As a result of these changes, this situation above is now a thing of the past for European mobile subscribers. Users travelling throughout the continent are able to browse the internet, update social media platforms, connect across messaging apps and download content at the same rate as they would have in their home countries. And this change in subscriber behavior has worked to offset the potential negative effects of the roaming regulations.
However, whilst silent roaming across Europe might be on the decline, elsewhere in the world there are still mobile subscribers turning off their data roaming to travel outside of Europe, meaning mobile operators are missing out on valuable revenue streams.
One particular partner of BICS’, an Asian mobile network operator (MNO), decided to tackle the silent roamer issue head on. Using BICS’ Data Roaming Control (DRC) solution, the operator has been able to optimize its outbound data roaming revenues, and stimulate data roaming uptake with tailored bundles that match subscribers’ mobile usage profiles.
Our one-stop-shop roaming solution provided the MNO’s end-users with a safe and controlled way to consume data abroad with timely notifications on tariffs and regulations, as well as spending limits, and convenient ways to purchase and consume them.
In this instance, following the first three months since activating the DRC solution, the MNO registered very good results, including a +500% increase in package traffic and +140% increase of outbound data roaming traffic. Utilizing the DRC solution benefited not just the MNO, but the customers themselves. Here at BICS we have been working with service providers across the globe to target customer satisfaction and loyalty, and prevent revenue erosion. By increasing end-user trust, we’ve found operators are able to drive mobile usage and therefore generate new revenue streams: a win-win situation for all parties.
The winter holiday season is just around the corner, and this year we anticipate there will be as many ski-selfies as there were beach-selfies. And next summer, we believe there is still more traffic to come – in fact, according to Juniper Research, international mobile data roaming revenue is forecast to reach $31 billion by 2022! This is because, despite the amount of press coverage the abolition of roaming fees received, not everyone realised the ‘Roam Like at Home’ packages were for them.
With subscribers using more data when they roam abroad, operators now have a unique opportunity to offer new data package deals to encourage customers to stay online for longer, and make use of a wide range of data-rich mobile services, wherever they are in the world.
As a result, operators can unlock exciting new revenue streams even in light of the abolition of roaming fees, and enter phase two of the data roaming boom.
An article by Mikael Schachne, VP Mobility Solutions at BICS