Roaming prices have confronted criticism in recent years and are undergoing significant changes at this present time.
The latest edition of the Global Roaming Tariff Tracker subscription service finds a steady increase in the size of mobile data roaming packages combined with a fall in average package pricing offered by MNOs worldwide. From the survey there are now more than double the number of Data Roaming Packs than Voice Roaming packs.
By contrast, MNOs have increased the average price of their voice roaming packs and have reduced the average number of call minutes available per pack since the last edition of the Global Roaming Tariff Tracker published in July 2014.
The increase in average Data Roaming allowances and the reduction in average pricing reflects the introduction of a range of new Data Roaming packages spurred on by a rapid increase in data roaming usage.
Roaming especially in the consumer market has been perceived as complex and expensive, despite operators having moved to attractive on-net pricing and easier-to-understand pricing structures, roaming prices often still hit the headlines with users especially when using data, receive invoices of high amounts.
Findings reveal that offerings have increased through the launch of bundles and special schemes for both voice and data services. Both voice and data calls price changes have been mainly downward with some operators increasing rates to non-European destinations. Operators continue to seek to introduce innovative offers to help for the compensation of the potential loss in revenue from the imposed regulation.
Data Roaming Packages are Growing in Popularity with Increased Data Allowances Coupled with a Decline in the Average Price Per Package, Whilst the Average Price for Voice Roaming Packages is on the Increase as the Call Package Size Falls Roaming prices
More inclusive roaming tariffs are being introduced – More MNOs are offering a “Like Home” service, which allows users to use their domestic allowance of calls, SMS & mobile data, particularly in Europe with the regulator-inspired reduction in EU roaming pricing. Examples of new inclusive roaming tariffs include:
i) H3G (Denmark) – has extended its “3Like Home” service to include inclusive roaming in France, Germany, Norway & Switzerland – it already includes inclusive roaming in Sweden, Austria, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy & the UK. Roaming prices
ii) Vodafone (Germany) – has introduced “EasyTravel Europa” which allows a Vodafone RED tariff user to use the call, SMS & mobile data allowances in the EU,Switzerland &Turkey for a monthly fee of Euro 4.99 per month.
New Data Roaming packs are being introduced as add-on services – A number of MNOs continue to introduce new Data Roaming packages over the last quarter period. Examples of new packages include:
i) TIM (Italy) – has modified its weekly Viaggio Pass tariff pack, which offers 600 minutes (split equally between incoming & outgoing minutes), 300 SMS & 300 MB (to the EU & the USA) for Euro 15 per week.
ii) Globe Telecom (Philippines) – has expanded its flat rate P599 (Euro 10.51) daily tariff to a total of 75 countries worldwide (up from 35 countries) available for Post Pay users.
iii) Etisalat (UAE) – has introduced a Global Data Plan with 1 GB of roaming data and unlimited eWi-Fi roaming (including a 10 GB domestic allowance) for AED 500 (Euro 107) per month.
Promotional roaming packs are being introduced for specific events – Middle Eastern MNOs over the last quarter have introduced a roaming package to coincide with the annual Hajj pilgrimage inSaudi Arabia. Examples of promotional roaming services include:
i) Zain (Jordan) – has introduced a Hajj roaming bundle using the Zain Saudi Arabia network, including unlimited data & 100 minutes for JOD 10 (Euro 11.1).
ii) Omantel (Oman) – has introduced “Hajj Jawazak” roaming bundles, including a Mada Post Pay roaming bundle of 100 minutes, 50 SMS & 1 GB of mobile data for a 10 day period for OMD 10 (Euro 20.4),
iii) Etisalat (UAE) – has introduced “Hajj and Omra” roaming bundles, including a roaming bundle of 200 minutes & 1 GB of mobile data for a 2 week period for AED 250 (Euro 53.4),
The Global Roaming Tariff Tracker analyses the roaming packages provided by 90 MNOs in 64 countries worldwide – and finds that 168 voice roaming packages and 409 data roaming packages are being offered as of October 2014. The Tracker also finds that:
Voice roaming packages – are being offered at an average cost of Euro 23.19 per month with an average bundle of 134 minutes per pack – an increase from Euro 21.04 per month with an average bundle of 139 minutes per pack.
Data roaming packages – are being offered at an average cost of Euro 0.72 per MB with an average bundle of 249 MB per pack – and has increased from 233 MB per pack, at an average cost of Euro 0.78 per MB.
Overall, MNO voice roaming packages remain relatively limited with the average size of packages, as measured by the number of minutes, declining quarter on quarter, and the average cost per pack is increasing.
MNO data roaming packages are increasing the average bundle, as measured by the number of MB, increasing quarter on quarter, and the average cost per pack is declining.