Preparing for EU Roaming Regulations

Filed in Roaming by on December 1, 2013 0 Comments

In less than a year, the mobile market in Europe will undergo a seismic shift, when the economic boundaries that govern the roaming rates between many countries will be broken down.

These guidelines – formally referred to as “European Union Roaming Regulation III” – will allow residents to buy roaming services from a provider other than their regular home operator. The change in policy is a first for the market and is intended to foster greater competition and lower prices.

Further, over the summer, proposed legislation in the form of the Single Telecoms Act was proposed by the European Commission. The Single Telecoms Act includes, among several proposed changes, the “banning” of retail roaming rates intra-EU by 2016. This legislation will be voted on during the second quarter of 2014; but in the interim, affected operators must make all preparations to be compliant with the obligations in the current EU Roaming Regulation III.

The new regulations will transform a €4.8 billion market and have long-lasting ramifications for mobile service providers. End users will gain an unprecedented level of choice with their roaming providers; mobile operators will gain the opportunity to reach end users in new markets; and other potential mobile service providers will be able to begin offering roaming services to compete with traditional mobile operators. However, as these opportunities suggest, the regulations will usher in new competitors, new markets, new pricing models and new technology requirements, all of which could upend many mobile service providers’ businesses.

One of the critical components to succeeding in this new environment will be making use of the latest advances in real-time intelligence to nurture relationships with current end users, while simultaneously making connections with new ones. To that end, mobile service providers must prepare for these regulatory changes by ensuring a seamless end-user experience that uses real-time intelligence to provide personalized, targeted offerings.

There are three key facets of real-time intelligence that provide great potential for adapting to EU Roaming Regulation III.

DELIVERING A FLAWLESS, SEAMLESS EXPERIENCE

To contend with a field of competition from newly-minted alternative roaming providers, it will be imperative for mobile service providers to deliver the highest-quality end-user experience. For example, real-time intelligence can be used to automatically detect an end user’s preset data roaming limit, formulating the best roaming package to offer based on past usage patterns, and sending an offer directly to the user before he or she is faced with making a choice about other providers. 

RESOLVING PROBLEMS QUICKLY AND PROACTIVELY

Both current and new roaming providers must be able to proactively identify and correct a service issue before the end user detects any degradation in service. Consider a business traveler who lands in France, turns on her phone, and is unable to connect because of a miscommunication with her phone and the foreign network. Real-time intelligence technologies can instantaneously detect the failure, identify a resolution and implement it automatically, preventing a frustrating disruption in service that could lead the mobile user to consider other roaming options.

PROVIDING COMPETITIVE, PERSONALIZED PRICING

Current and new roaming providers will have to entice end users with a more diverse range of pricing packages tailored to specific levels of usage. Today’s real-time intelligence options provide personalization by giving mobile users the capability to customize their own package options based on geographical and network-based features, and by allowing them access to real-time usage information to prevent bill shock.

In just over six months, EU Roaming Regulation III promises to profoundly redefine the playing field for the European roaming market. As mobile service providers, both new and old, address the needs of roamers,  the application of real-time intelligence should be a priority in their plans. Having the ability to deliver a  high-quality mobile experience, along with personalized pricing, will be crucial to success in adapting to  this new environment. 

Tue From Hermansen, Senior Director, Advanced Network Services and Data Roaming Engine, talks about the future of LTE and how to boost revenue with new and innovative data services.

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Mary Clark is a former Chief Corporate Relations Officer and Chief of Staff at Syniverse.

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