Global LTE traffic more than doubled in 2017 and will increase by the same volume in 2018, according to annual research by BICS, a global wholesale carrier for voice, mobile data and capacity services.
The summer months saw a 600-800% increase in LTE data roaming traffic in the EU compared with 2016, driven by the EU’s regulation on wholesale roaming charges which came into effect in June. 2017 was also the year in which LTE roaming in Africa really took off. BICS’ latest data shows a growth in the number of MVNOs and tier three/four operators introducing LTE roaming services in the region, following in the footsteps of major players who launched similar offerings in previous years.
Africa will continue as a major growth area for LTE deployment this year, being one of the only continents with a large proportion of countries still not offering any LTE services.
“As infrastructure improves and populations and workforces become more globalised, we’ll see an even greater number of operators across the world offering LTE roaming to ensure they stay relevant and competitive,” said Mikael Schachne, VP – Mobility Solutions, BICS.
Schachne said, “Roam Like at Home has upped consumer expectations for high quality, affordable roaming services, wherever they travel. Operators in other regions will therefore look to emulate a similar situation this year by banding together to offer better packages to subscribers while optimising traffic flow and cost efficiencies at the back-end. With BICS’ IPX Transport service, we’ll be supporting operators as they move to an all-IP environment, helping to democratise the roaming experience.
“Finally, over the coming year we expect LTE roaming traffic to be impacted by the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a focus on IPX signalling security – and compliance – as well as the overall decrease of data rates,” added Schachne.