Roaming is a wireless telecommunication term typically used with mobile devices, such as mobile phones. It refers to the mobile phone being used outside the range of its home network and connecting to another available cell network. 5G Roaming Subscribers
In more technical terms, roaming refers to the ability for a cellular customer to automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive data, or access other services, including home data services, when travelling outside the geographical coverage area of the home network, by means of using a visited network. For example, should a subscriber travel beyond their cell phone company’s transmitter range, their cell phone would automatically hop onto another phone company’s service, if available.
A new study from Juniper Research has found that the number of international 5G roaming subscribers will reach 147 million by 2025; increasing from 4.3 million in 2021. This represents a growth of 3,300% over the next four years.
It predicts that standalone 5G architectures, which leverage innovative core network technologies and high levels of virtualization, will be instrumental in allowing operators to create appealing 5G roaming packages for this growing number of subscribers.
It predicts that the higher degree of software-defined network applications in standalone 5 G networks will create greater efficiencies in the routing of voice and data roaming traffic, thus reducing operators’ investment needed to offer 5G roaming services.
5G Standalone Agreements Are Key Now
The new study, Mobile Roaming: Emerging Opportunities, Regional Analysis & Market Forecasts 2021-2025, argued that current non-standalone 5G architectures, which leverage the same core network technologies as 4G, will not be sufficient in aiding operators to launch cost-effective international roaming services over 5G networks.
Despite the global pandemic causing substantial decreases in international roaming traffic, the research urges operators to bypass the creation of non-standalone 5 G roaming agreements and focus on basing 5 G roaming agreements on standalone architecture immediately. Research author Scarlett Woodford noted: ‘The current decrease in international roaming traffic must not be used as a reason to neglect future roaming activities. Given that roaming agreements can take between 12 and 18 months to be established, operators must focus on standalone 5G roaming agreements now, in preparation for the recovery of the market.’
North America & Far East Lead 5G Roaming Agreements 5G Roaming Subscribers
The research identified operators in North America and the Far East as leading in 5G roaming agreements. By 2025, it anticipates that over 35% of 5 G roaming subscribers will be attributable to these two regions. However, the research warns that these early agreements must be extended to include standalone 5 G roaming capabilities as the prevalence of non-standalone networks diminishes.