Juniper Research has published a report that predicts a 21% per year increase in mobile data roaming revenue between 2012 and 2017 as more and more people use data services when abroad. Total mobile roaming revenue is expected to exceed $80 billion (£50 billion) by 2017, with mobile data accounting for $35 billion. This year, total worldwide roaming revenue is expected to reach $46 billion.
However, the report also notes that the number of people who actively avoid using data when abroad remains significantly higher than those ‘silent roamers’ who avoid voice services when abroad. It pointed out that data roaming offered a growth opportunity for mobile network operators when appropriate data bundles and roaming plans were available.
Nitin Bhas, senior analyst at Strategy Research, said “As data roaming costs are further reduced and smartphone owners find so-called OTT (Over-the-Top) services - such as eBuddy and Whatsapp - a cheaper alternative, the average spend per SMS roaming will decline over the forecast period”.