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5g Roaming Adoption Is Predicted To Triple In 2023

With operators investing in 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) launches, 5G Standalone (SA) trials and numerous 5G use cases, the rollout of 5G networks around the world will transform mobile roaming and generate additional revenue opportunities for stakeholders.  

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According to roaming experts Kaleido Intelligence, 5G data roaming traffic generated by consumer mobile and IoT connections will exceed 5,000 Petabytes in 2028, representing just over 70% of global data roaming traffic.  

The new research, which breaks out 5G roaming adoption by SA and NSA based on extensive operator and vendor feedback, found that this will represent a cumulative opportunity of nearly $100 billion in outbound and inbound roaming revenues for mobile operators over the next 5 years.  

5G Roaming Operator Survey Findings

Kaleido surveyed over 100 mobile operators around the world on their 5G roaming implementation plans, monetisation strategies and use case requirements in Q1 2023. The questionnaire was developed by Kaleido in partnership with leading industry stakeholders and contained 18 questions. 

Key findings included: 

  • Over 85% of participating mobile network operators are planning to launch 5G SA roaming by the end of 2025.  
  • Around 85% of operators planning to launch 5G SA roaming are in the process of conducting or completing testing of new protocols and other functional entities. 
  • Around 63% of participating operators are prioritising testing and trialling of new 5G security and network functions including SEPP. 
  • Testing new 5G SA roaming functions (75%); including SCP (Service 75% Communication Proxy), BSF (Binding Support Function) and SEPP functions; and enabling VoLTE and Vo5G/VoNR roaming (73%) ranked the top 2 most immediate requirements for MNOs.  

5G NSA Adoption to Drive Operator Revenues

According to the research, the more strategic and immediate focus for mobile operators will continue to be on 5G NSA roaming rollouts. A sizeable proportion of mobile operators are willing to introduce 5G outbound roaming with partners, even if they have not yet launched 5G commercial services in their domestic market. 

5G NSA and SA roaming revenues will represent around 12% of total retail and wholesale roaming revenues in 2024; however, this is predicted to reach 50% by 2026. 



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