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Survey suggests LTE roaming premiums could be short-lived

Akamai's latest State of the Internet report reveals that both the number and speed of connections globally continue to rise

Only around a fifth of respondents to the Telecoms.com Intelligence Industry Survey 2014 strongly believe that mobile operators are justified in charging LTE roaming at a premium to other roaming services. But even fewer expect that specialist roaming providers will come to dominate the retail roaming market, suggesting that mobile operators will continue to derive vital revenues from roaming, despite pressure on tariffs from competition and regulation.

Price is expected to remain an important competitive differentiator in LTE roaming, although not the most important. We asked respondents to rate a number of competitive differentiators for roaming services on the same one to seven scale (where seven was extremely effective). Of the six options provided, price differentiation was ranked fourth by respondents in total and third by operator respondents.

It was nonetheless rated highly, with 41.4 per cent of respondents (and 44.4 per cent of operator respondents) scoring it six or seven. Judged most effective, and given a six or seven rating by half of respondents, was service continuity. Close behind, and reflecting responses to an earlier question, was guaranteed Qos (48.6 per cent), followed by integration with wifi (44.7 per cent; this was ranked fourth by operator respondents, given a high rating by 39.7 per cent). Judged least effective, with a high rating from 25.6 per cent of respondents, was geographical differentiation.

How effective do you believe the following differentiators are for operators providing LTE roaming? Where is extremely effective.

How effective do you believe the following differentiators are for operators providing LTE roaming? Where is extremely effective.

We asked respondents to rate eight potential charging models for LTE roaming services in terms of their benefit to the mobile operator. See the story here.

Chris Lennartz, head of mobile services at KPN-owned IPX provider iBasis suggests these results highlight the importance of the IPX model. “LTE Roaming will be limited initially to data roaming but, soon afterwards, delay- and error-critical services like VoLTE, RCS, video, M2M will follow, in order to provide Multi-Service Continuity in the transition to all-IP,” he says. “IPX has been designed to assign differentiated quality levels to specific services over one integrated pipe, using virtual links that can be managed separately. As this model works end-to-end, operators can start introducing a variety of services assigning the QoS they require.”

LTE roaming will not differ from earlier roaming simply in terms of service and business models. With a new signalling paradigm and the opportunity to address the inelegance of earlier approaches to routing there will be some key technological changes as well.

What do you believe will be the revenue and traffic impact of the European Commission's proposed removal of roaming premiums within the EU?

What do you believe will be the revenue and traffic impact of the European Commission’s proposed removal of roaming premiums within the EU?

The 2014 Telecoms.com Intelligence Global Industry Survey drew responses from more than 2,000 industry professionals, including more than 700 operator representatives. The full report from the survey will be made available in mid-February. You can register to receive the report here.

The 10th annual LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

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  • iBasis


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