Examining voice, data and connectivity, messaging, roaming, business intelligence, fraud prevention, global IoT, capacity, and wholesale, the report highlights telecoms’ most pressing concerns and challenges, as well as identifying opportunities for innovation throughout 2018 and beyond.
Key findings showed that while traditional voice is declining and is expected to have reached its tipping point this year, VoIPX traffic is expected to increase by 22%.
4G traffic is tripling year-on-year, thanks to the rapid growth of LTE subscribers. By 2018 this is expected to reach its peak, with the majority of mobile operators deploying next generation services to meet the demands of customers. The coming years will also see a surge in international VoLTE traffic, which is expected to grow by a CAGR of 99.3% over the next four years.
International use of services, as well as investment and improvements in network infrastructure on a global level, are both further key focus areas in the BICS Report. Mobile data roaming traffic is expected to increase from 368.7PB in 2017 to 1,2228PB in 2020, with data as opposed to voice playing a central role in driving traffic volumes.
EU mobile roamers
Before the EU enforced its roam like at home ruling, many mobile users refrained from using their mobile whilst travelling abroad, for fear of being hit with hefty phone bills on their return home.
Now, with mobile users paying no extra for data and voice services whilst in EU member states, the region will see a rapid rise in active data roaming traffic.
Key usage indicators and regional trends
Data roaming traffic is tripling year-on-year across BICS’ global network, driven by LTE roaming. The past two years has seen a sharp rise in the number of operators offering LTE roaming services, with growth areas identified in Africa, Asia and South America, and tier two and three operators launching LTE roaming services for the first time in a number of countries.
The introduction of ‘all-you-can-eat’ unlimited roaming data plans by operators in the US – and increasingly elsewhere – coupled with the EU’s roaming regulation, will further drive data usage by mobile roamers on a global scale.
A recent report by Proximus noted that mobile data usage by roamers had quadrupled since it scrapped the charges.
The BICS Report identifies the importance of ‘things’ as well as people, to the current data boom, with IoT devices set to surpass mobile phones as the largest category of connected devices next year. Despite forecasting a positive outlook, BICS also highlights a pervasive problem in the telecoms industry: fraud.
“We’re excited to launch our first report, particularly at a period of great change in the telecoms industry,” commented Daniel Kurgan, CEO, BICS. “The traditional notion of ‘telecoms’ is no longer applicable, as the environment has been re-shaped by factors like the IoT, 5G, digital communications providers, the cloud, globalisation, smartphone penetration, and the growing risk of cyber-attack. The telecoms industry of today offers opportunity in abundance, and the BICS Report offers a tool for those looking to strategise and monetise their business as we head into 2018.”