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January 14, 2014

As data roaming sales head towards $42bn, are mobile operators really meeting customer needs?

The figure represents 47% of the global mobile roaming revenue.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Mobile networking operators need to work harder at meeting consumer needs as mobile data roaming sales are expected to hit $42bn (£25bn) by 2018, according to the latest research.

They should review their tariff structures as 4G connections grow common and work on developing innovative services, the analyst firm Juniper Research argued.

Juniper said the sales, which represent 47% of the global mobile roaming market, would be driven by a higher demand for data, faster connectivity and a reduction in roaming charges as consumers migrate to 4G connections.

Nitin Bhas, author of the report, told CBR: "Operators need to present customers with innovative services that will meet users’ requirements and, crucially, that users will attach value to.

"They’ll have to review their tariff structures to balance the need to monetise the greatly increased data throughput, yet still offer attractive packages even while roaming."

He suggested operators to work with third party service developers to offer these services.

The research comes after the European Commission announced an end to roaming charges within the EU from July 2014 last September.

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If plans are approved by the European Parliament, the report predicts voice, SMS and data revenues to decline by about 20% in 2016.

"An end to roaming charges will contribute to this decline in European roaming revenue. There will be a temporary decline in roaming revenue in Europe between 2014 and 2016, before it begins to rise again driven by a resultant increased usage and adoption rates," he said.


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