When the EEC first came into being on the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, mobile phones were not even close to being invented. Designed to foster and nurture specifically economic relationships and continent-wide trade between the member states, this was renamed the European Union in 1993, with some nations adopting the new Euro currency a few years later. As mobile phones became more popular and, eventually ubiquitous around the continent, mobile phone carriers were, at least at first, able to charge for data and phone calls. Mobile Tariff Revenue brexit
From phoning parents to tell them you had arrived safely to booking a taxi from the airport to your hotel, whiling away time at a train station by watching a poker rules video as you wait to board commercial casino cruises, smartphone data and internet connectivity became commonplace everywhere and anywhere. With the explosion of the smartphone market and usage, the way people used their mobile devices developed even further, making it a more lucrative market.
Over the years, however, the EU nations agreed that mobile phone roaming charges should be limited or dropped, making it free or subject to a cap to use data across the continent regardless of carrier or service provider, something solidified in law around 2012. From sharing social media posts with travel images to playing roulette on your phone as you practice for a trip on one of the many commercial casino cruises in European waters, smartphone data and internet connectivity became commonplace everywhere and anywhere.
Incoming Call: How Communication Apps Challenge Traditional Phone Usage Mobile Tariff Revenue brexit
During the halcyon days of the EU roaming charge ban or cap, people stopped worrying about the previously problematic issue of using data and making calls across the EU country zone. But then came Brexit, and things changed again. As the UK exited the economic union and reopened the roaming charge issue in a landscape that had changed in many ways. In addition to the ever-increasing number of phone service providers, the emergence of so many Internet and app-based communication platforms made it easier to communicate for free.
In addition to using things such as Telegram, WhatsApp, and Signal to access free calls and text-based communications at home, people also began travelling with tech gadgets such as smartphones, tablets and even laptops, allowing this to become a more common practice. That said, Brexit did mean that roaming charges were able to be reintroduced by carriers both from the UK and those in continental Europe, meaning something a bonus for these providers.
With more competition from apps, however, it is questionable how much this amounts to, and whether it is worth if in terms of goodwill towards customers, as some decided to remain with caps and free data allowances. One thing we do know is that traditional phone usage, i.e., making calls, was challenged by mobile communication apps making this a more difficult marketplace for mobile service providers. Even so, with the global explosion of smartphone usage, the potential consumer base also grows exponentially, meaning the roaming charge opportunity is still on the up in terms of consumer numbers available.
Money, Markets and Mobile Generations: An Ever-Evolving Landscape
Like so many other product and service industries, the mobile and smartphone and tech market continues to evolve, sometimes in a manner that seems to be unrelenting. With new devices released all the time, advanced operating systems updated on almost a weekly basis, and the app arena as overcrowded as always, capturing mobile usage trade is more difficult than it has ever been. Across Europe, there are countless providers, each offering new data deals, inclusive phone calls, unlimited texts, and more, all to up their market share.
With the younger generations both travelling more, due to lower cost competition in that industry too, and using mobile devices as their primary source of communication, there is of course money to be made. That said, the competition for that consumer cash is febrile. What Brexit did achieve, however, is to bring back at least one previously regulated revenue stream in the form of roaming charges. What this has done, naturally, is cause a conundrum; whether to charge customers now that is once again allowed or use the lack of roaming on your network to entice more customers. It’s a delicate balancing act to some.
Returning to the central theme of the article in conclusion, there is no one simple or one size fits all answer to this tech and mobile-related question. Did Brexit really become a bonus for mobile tariff revenue generation in the new app comms market?
Yes, as it allowed companies, at their discretion, to reimplement a tariff that was previously removed. No, as the new communication app market is now globally used, free, and to many, the primary source of phone calls and text messages. Thus, the question is one that is not answered easily, but what we do know is that this is a market that will always evolve.