September 23, 2010 Written by James Middleton
The global roaming market is expected to grow 86 per cent over the next five years
The global roaming market is expected to grow 86 per cent over the next five years, delivering revenues of $67bn by 2015, or 6.3% per cent of total mobile service revenues worldwide.
The figures come from Informa Telecoms & Media, which predicted a slowdown until at least 2012 as a result of the economic downturn and customer cost saving initiatives, but also forecasts a marked upturn from this point onwards as markets recover and as mobile data roaming becomes increasingly prevalent.
“Data roaming, new pricing models and technologies, as well as regulation are just some of the forces that will transform the roaming market over the next five years,” said Paul Merry, senior analyst at Informa. “Bill shock remains a major issue for mobile roaming users in those markets where pricing regulation has not been implemented. Moreover, the legacy of bill shock is such that even in regulated markets there is a perception that mobile data roaming is expensive. Overcoming this sensitivity will take time but is critical.”
EU regulations presently limit roaming spend to €50 per trip and Informa believes such measures are a step in the right direction, but also states that €50 remains a very high amount for the majority of users, especially leisure users.
However, Merry believes that mobile data roaming is expected to show substantial growth due to the popularity of app stores and the ongoing success of smartphones, delivering a 28 per cent CAGR or a 246 per cent increase over the five year period.
View Informa’s research on global roaming
Enterprise segments currently generate around 65 per cent of total roaming revenue, and are highly price inelastic segments, compared to consumers, which are an underpenetrated roaming segment and are highly price elastic. Therefore enterprise customers will be more resilient to the economic downturn, seeing a CAGR of 17 per cent compared with just 5 per cent for leisure users over the forecast period.
Informa found that Western Europe will remain the largest roaming market delivering approximately 41 per cent of roaming revenues by 2015, followed by Asia Pacific with approximately 18 per cent and North America with approximately 10 per cent.