Roaming charges are set to net operators billions

Young woman in yellow walking with smart phone on the old town square in Prague city
(Image credit: Shutterstock / RossHelen)

Telecommunications operators are set to earn more than $10 billion in revenue through roaming data services next year, according to a new report from Juniper Research. The market analysts are saying that globally, these organizations can expect annual growth of 15%, a nice boost given that in 2023, they’ll earn $8.6 billion.

The increase in revenue comes from the rise in consumer demand, fueled by the deployment of 5G networks, the researchers claim.

However, Juniper doesn’t expect data roaming revenue to continue on an upward trajectory for much longer. The emergence of competing mobility solutions, such as eSIM, should give telecoms’ a run for their money. By adopting a temporary local profile, consumers can avoid paying extra for mobile data when traveling internationally. 


eSIMS, Juniper explains, are inbuilt Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Cards (eUICCS), that are also operator-agnostic, which allows roaming subscribers to adopt local profiles through digital platforms. By the end of this year, the researchers argue, there will be more than 1.5 billion smartphones using eSIMs for cellular connectivity. By 2027, the number is expected to more than double, to 3.5 billion devices. 

Operators should launch travel mobility services for long-term travelers, as well as those interested in becoming “permanent roamers”, they say. Furthermore, they should provide travel mobility services to subscribers roaming on their network. That should also include a user-facing digital platform which would allow subscribers to manage their own mobile subscriptions. 

“As a result, this will lessen the reliance on the delivery of physical SIM cards that can increase the time for a travel mobility subscription to be created,” the researchers concluded.

According to Statista, consumers in Oceania, Eastern and South Eastern Asia, are the biggest spenders on mobile data, with $4.65 billion spent in 2020 alone, followed by consumers in the EU, with $3.1 billion spent.

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.