European LTE data roaming increased by 800% in 2017

Mobile data services outfit BICS has published its data for 2017 and it reveals some interesting trends in LTE consumption.

The most dramatic data point is an 800% year-on-year increase in LTE data roaming traffic in the EU, apparently driven by the ‘roam like at home’ abolition of roaming charges between EU countries. Furthermore BICS reckons a significant minority of people still haven’t taken advantage of this opportunity so it expects a further increase this year.

The bigger picture revealed an annual doubling of global LTE traffic thanks partly to more operators getting the LTE memo, but presumably also to the underlying trends of mobile video streaming, more generous tariffs, etc. Africa seems to be getting up to speed with LTE too.

“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 Mikaël Schachne, VP of Mobility Solutions at BICS.

“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.

“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.”

It goes without saying that the BICS release also featured lots of commentary on how great BICS is, how well it’s positioned to facilitate all this lovely roaming, etc. With LTE still in such a rapid growth phase all the hype around 5G is put very firmly in perspective. There is clearly plenty to be done with 4G before we go up one more.

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