alertify

Explore the world with Alertify. Get roaming news, tips, and the tech to travel without limits.

Follow Us

GO UP
Where-Tech-Travel-Go-Hand-in-Hand
global roaming market

Retail Roaming Market: Roaming Subscribers to Reach 1.25 Billion Globally

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, international tourism, and subsequently the demand for roaming, declined significantly in 2020. International tourism was heavily restricted, meaning that customers were not utilizing roaming services. Now, in 2024,
roaming levels are expected to have reached pre-2020 levels, with leisure and business tourism returning without restrictions. A new study from Juniper Research has found that the number of active retail roaming subscribers will reach 1.25 billion globally by the end of 2024, and will rise to 1.6 billion by 2028. 
Retail Roaming Market 

SIM card e SIM shop

It identified the increasing number of roaming subscribers using 5G networks as a key challenge for operators to fully monetize roaming activities.

$18bn Roaming Spend

5G subscribers will account for only 10% of global roamers in 2024. However, this is anticipated to exceed 45% by 2028. In turn, the study recommends that operators accelerate their investment into cloud services that enable more efficient real-time detection of roaming subscriptions over 5G networks. This will empower operators to fully monetize the $18 billion global subscriber roaming spend by 2028.

3 Key Roaming Trends

Travel SIMs & eSIMs

The increased use of travel SIMs and travel eSIMs provides competition for operators’ roaming revenue, as consumers opt for these SIMs rather than utilizing the roaming provisions of their operator. They provide alternative options for travellers, giving them consumer choice. The uptake of travel SIMs and travel eSIMS contributes to the number of silent roamers, as they do not use their original plan and operator to roam, therefore appearing silent. Using travel SIMs and travel eSIMs allows the user to avoid substantial roaming costs by the new SIM connecting to local network services.

travel roamingMobile operator Orange has recognised this alternative offering and provides both travel SIMs and travel eSIMs; giving customers choice whilst always making use of the same operator. Orange’s travel SIMs and travel eSIMs are offered with various
benefits, with some including data-only packages, while others consist of data, voice and SMS services. SIM packages are also tailored to the holiday destination, therefore ensuring that the plan is suitable for the customer’s needs, and is set up to
connect to the appropriate local network. Orange consequently offers multiple plans; those with roaming embedded, and those that offer roaming add-ons in addition to travel SIMs and travel eSIMS. This ensures that roaming revenue will remain with
Orange with any of these options. Orange will benefit from an early-mover advantage within the retail roaming market with its travel SIM and travel eSIM offering.

Cruise Roaming Retail Roaming Market 

Roaming whilst on a cruise can be challenging and expensive, as in order to benefit from voice, SMS and data services, mobile devices have to connect to a satellite network. This is a particularly expensive form of roaming, and can commonly cause
bill shock when roaming while at sea. International travel by cruise is a large market, which, alongside the high demand from customers to use their mobile devices, makes this an underserved area of the roaming market by operators. Cruise, or maritime roaming works differently to standard international roaming. While at sea, all data, voice, and SMS is transmitted through a satellite dish on the ship to the satellite. The network is connected to the cruise’s onboard satellite dish.

satellite roaming
This is then passed through call routing systems on the shore via another satellite dish. It is dependent on the cruise liner as to whether mobile network capabilities are available at sea, as it relies on the ship having a satellite dish for connectivity.
Silent roaming is also prevalent with international cruising, as many sources recommend turning devices off or onto airplane mode to avoid unexpected roaming costs. This does not allow users to assess their roaming options while travelling on a
cruise. Many cruise users utilise the ship’s Wi-Fi, which is usually a charged feature, to remain connected.

Cloud Services Retail Roaming Market 

Cloud services have the potential to disrupt operators’ roaming revenue if they do not incorporate these services into their offerings. Cloud roaming services are remotely hosted and managed, by cloud-based applications. These services negate the
need for subscribers to use costly traditional roaming services by using these cloud-based applications. This will benefit operators with lower outbound roaming subscribers in particular, such as those in developing regions including Latin America
and Africa & Middle East, due to them being more cost-effective than setting up bilateral roaming agreements.

Cloud-based roaming services will produce faster and more consistently reliable Internet access for roaming customers. Additionally, cloud services will be utilised both when at home and when roaming, reducing the current gap in quality between
the services.
Cloud services will reduce the cost associated with roaming, as it would function over Wi-Fi or mobile data. This would be for both the operator and the consumer. Operators making use of cloud roaming services will benefit from reduced hardware to look after in comparison to roaming. This creates an organizational ease for operators.

Cloud Key to Roaming Evolution

Operators continue to struggle to monetise roaming services; owing to an inability to effectively identify roaming connections and activities over other networks. By connecting subscribers to global cloud infrastructure rather than through these networks and bilateral roaming agreements, operators will be able to offer higher roaming speeds and lower latency.

Additionally, the study predicts that the implementation of cloud roaming services will disrupt established roaming practices by enabling subscribers to access data services when travelling abroad via cloud applications; negating the need to access visited networks and thus roam. To maximise the benefits of cloud services over roaming, operators must ensure that they offer roaming subscribers an interaction platform that lets them view their own roaming activities, such as location, cost and data used.

Market Forecast Summary: Total Number of Roaming Subscribers

The number of active retail roaming subscribers will reach 1.25 billion globally by the end of 2024, and will rise to 1.6 billion by 2028. The increasing number of roaming subscribers using 5G networks is a key challenge for operators to fully monetise
roaming activities.

roaming

• 5G subscribers will account for only 10% of global roamers in 2024, however, this is anticipated to exceed 45% by 2028. In turn operators must accelerate their investment into cloud services that enable more efficient real-time detection of roaming subscriptions over 5G networks. This will enable operators to fully monetize the $18 billion of global subscriber roaming spend by 2028.
• Operators continue to struggle to monetize roaming services, owing to an inability to effectively identify roaming connections and activities over other networks. By connecting subscribers to global cloud infrastructure rather than through these networks and bilateral roaming agreements, operators will be able to offer higher roaming speeds and lower latency.
• Additionally, the implementation of cloud roaming services will disrupt established roaming practices by enabling subscribers to access data services when travelling abroad via cloud applications, negating the need to access visited networks and thus roam. To maximise the benefits of cloud services over roaming, operators must ensure that they offer roaming subscribers an interaction platform that lets them view their own roaming activities, such as location, cost and data used.

Travel smarter, connect faster with our eSIM!

Like this? "Sharing is caring!"