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Roaming data revenue to reach $10bn in 2024, as travel mobility solutions disrupt established market


Operators will generate more than $10bn of roaming data revenue globally in 2024, rising from $8.6bn in 2023, according to Juniper Research. However, the report warned that despite an annual growth of 15%, operators’ future retail roaming revenue will be threatened by the emergence of competing travel mobility solutions.

Travel mobility solutions include the option for roaming subscribers to adopt a temporary local profile rather than incur roaming charges when travelling internationally.

Find out more in the new report: Retail Roaming: Regional Analysis, Business Models & Market Forecasts 2023-2027

eSIMs to enable travel mobility services

The research identified eSIMs as the key enabling technology for the growth of travel mobility services; eSIMs are inbuilt eUICCs (Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Cards) that are operator-agnostic. This enables roaming subscribers to adopt local profiles through digital platforms, rather than relying on roaming via physical SIMs. By 2024, over 1.5 billion smartphones globally will leverage eSIMs for cellular connectivity and is anticipated to reach 3.5 billion by 2027.

Additionally, it expected that mobile subscribers’ potential roaming costs will increase as consumers’ demand for data proliferates following the increased deployment of 5G networks. The research recommended operators launch travel mobility services aimed specifically at long-term travelers that do not wish to incur these roaming charges or are likely to become permanent roamers.

Management platforms key to travel mobility growth

To maximise the opportunities in the travel mobility market provided by eSIMs and minimise the potential for roaming charges, operators must also provide travel mobility services to subscribers roaming on their network.

However to reduce friction in the adoption of these services, a user-facing digital platform must be offered to subscribers. These platforms must allow subscribers to self-manage their travel mobility mobile subscriptions, including the setup, data allowance and cancellation in real time. As a result, this will lessen the reliance on the delivery of physical SIM cards that can increase the time for a travel mobility subscription to be created.

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