The global roaming tariff market is expected to gain prominence over the forecast period owing to a significant rise in the number of mobile phone users. Roaming has been an important and major source of revenue for mobile network service providers and operators. Several network service providers and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have launched tariff bundles with an aim of facilitating the users with convenient and cost-efficient tariff plans. The roaming business is estimated to witness remarkable rise over the forecast period. Major reason for this rise can be higher network capabilities and availability of high-end mobile devices such as 3G- and 4G-enabled smartphones that provide higher efficiency while roaming. Furthermore, the user’s need to access Internet and calling services frequently while roaming has propelled market growth.
Tariff is the prime concern of a user while roaming. Network service providers have focused on offering special roaming packages to users, which provide them with cost-effective solutions. Generally, these packages are designed based on the subscriber’s calls and data usage patterns. MNOs have accentuated on the development of market by stimulating data roaming usage among subscribers to generate more revenue. Network service providers have rolled out attractive and out-of-the box offers that can be bundled into packages with an aim to draw more potential consumers towards the market. Moreover, new business models and innovative services are being introduced by network operators to enable Long-Term Evolution (LTE) in the roaming tariff market globally. MNOs need to plan and formulate strategies and business tactics to implement new billing tools and charging mechanisms. This shall subsequently increase the revenue of the organization as well as benefit the subscriber. Communication and social media services have greatly increased the data traffic. MNOs foresee several opportunities of capitalizing on the increased data traffic.
The market can be segmented based on types of roaming, which comprises regional, national, international, inter-standard, mobile signature, inter-MSC, permanent, and trombone roaming. The market segment for regional roaming type tariff contributes the most to the overall market. Furthermore, it can be classified on the basis of services on which tariffs are charged. It comprises calls within a region, calls within a country, receiving a call, accessing the Internet, sending SMS, and details of zoning.
Regulatory pressures and government intervention have largely reduced the roaming tariff margins for network service providers. Furthermore, MNOs need to invest heavily on improving service operational efficiency on roaming services. Escalating public pressure for extermination of roaming tariffs has increased the uncertainties about the future of roaming business. Presence of large number of domestic and international players in the market has led to cut-throat competition and has adversely affected the profit margins and market share of vendors. Rapidly increasing data traffic is poised to become a major concern for network service providers as existing 2G and 3G network are unable handle high data traffic to some extent. For development of the market, technological progression and adoption of innovative techniques are necessary. However, this demands heavy financial investment, and has created problems for small-sized operators and service providers.
Availability of easy network portability has made it more convenient for users to switch among MNOs. Subsequently, this has created a major issue of subscriber retention for MNOs. This enables an easy switch for users. In addition, negotiating commercial Internet of Things (IoT) models and bilateral LTE roaming contracts can be highly expensive and increase the complexities. In addition, open Wi-Fi networks have minimized the dependence of users on network providers. Users travelling for long durations generally use local sim cards to avoid roaming charges. This has consequently hampered the market expansion.
The market is expected to gain traction in the Asia Pacific region especially in countries such as India, China, and South Korea. These countries being emerging economies possess high potential for telecommunication and infrastructural development. Owing to this, the roaming population in the market is expected to witness surges in demand for bundles with cost-efficient roaming packages.
Major vendors dominating the market are Bharti Airtel Limited, Claro Americas, Digicel Group, Nextel Communications Inc., Vivo, and Vodafone Group PLC.
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