An exploding (internet of things) IoT sector and the gradual roll-out of 5G in the region, will most likely fuel growth of demand for roaming data in Asia in the coming year.
This was the comment of Malcolm Chan, Managing Director for Asia-Pacific at BICS, after the company released a report showing that data roaming traffic across Asia surged by 245% in the past 12 months.
Brussels-based communications enabler BICS said the data was sourced from its global network which connects over 700 operators and 500 digital service providers (DSPs), and carries over 50% of global data roaming traffic.
“This huge uplift is being driven by increased adoption of roaming, new tariffs plans, travel SIMs and IoT devices across the continent,” Chan said in a news release.
“Subscribers now expect high quality, affordable roaming services, whether they’re travelling inside or outside of Asia, while enterprises managing ‘fleets’ of connected devices need uninterrupted, cross-border connectivity,” he added.
The BICS executive noted that while APAC has yet to follow in the EU’s footsteps with tariff-free roaming, roaming costs have fallen, encouraging more subscribers to use their phones abroad, and helping to drive the commoditization of mobile services.
“This presents a major opportunity for mobile operators, who can boost revenues and enhance the customer experience through offering roaming packages,” he said.
BICS anticipates that global data roaming traffic will continue to surge as operators progress 5G roadmaps.
Citing a report from Ericsson, it said 5G coverage is forecast to reach 45% of the world’s population, by the end of 2024, with 5G networks projected to carry 35% of global mobile traffic.
“Higher speeds mean higher volumes of traffic, and consequently the trajectory of roaming growth is expected to continue indefinitely. 5G technology enables new – and more – IoT use cases, across multiple verticals from automotive to healthcare, which will require global connectivity and further add to roaming traffic on operators’ networks,” it said.