Mobile data will bring in around $US50 billion by 2019 and make up 56 per cent of global roaming revenues according to analyst firm, Ovum.
The company's Mobile Roaming Forecasts Report looks at roaming trips, traffic and revenue forecasts. It found Europe remains the largest contributor to global roaming revenues, accounting for 46 per cent.
Revenue contribution from Asia is said to be growing. This is due in large part to central and southern Asia that is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12 per cent over the forecast period.
Ovum senior analyst, Nishi Verma Nangia, said “The sheer size of the region contributes to the increase, as does the fact that mobile services will penetrate further into these markets over the forecast period, and the overall propensity to roam is set to improve gradually.”
The report states that mobile data will experience the fastest revenue growth over the forecast period. Ovum expects this will drive growth of roaming revenues as voice revenues begin to deteriorate.
Increasing uptake of smartphones and SIM-enabled tablets and deployment of LTE networks is driving the growth of mobile data usage. Ovum said mobile users increasingly want to use the same services everywhere, whether they are at home or traveling overseas.
“To meet these expectations, operators are extending the reach of their LTE networks through agreements with operators in other markets, and in doing so are laying a solid foundation to allow travelers to maintain the same high-speed access to the Internet they have while in their home markets, ” said Nangia.
The report also states that roaming growth remains hindered by the cost of roaming and what Ovum describes as “the legacy of bill shock.” Nangia concluded by saying “But it's not pricing alone; operators need to demonstrate the relevance of roaming service to travelers, particularly in emerging markets, to encourage roaming adoption.”