Roaming World Congress Event Brings Together the Best in the Industry

Filed in Roaming by on June 17, 2014 0 Comments

Changing regulatory policies, new LTE networks and dramatic shifts in mobile lifestyles are but a few of the forces reshaping today’s roaming landscape. I recently had an opportunity to catch some of the latest industry perspectives on these issues and others at the Institute for International Research’s eighth annual Roaming World Congress held in Brussels. In this post, I would like to share a few things I learned there about the increasingly fast-moving and specialized world of roaming.

The conference draws a number of mobile network operators, regulators and solution providers from around the world, and it offers an invaluable forum to explore and debate solutions for some of the most pressing roaming issues. This year’s Congress was remarkably upbeat, with a lot of interest and discussion about new roaming models and ways for operators to prepare for the structural changes going into effect in the EU. Among some of the biggest topics were spending control and bill shock prevention, price transparency, simpler tariffs, group-based roaming passes, and real-time promotion of personalized roaming plans.

The biggest theme, as mentioned, is the new EU roaming regulations going into effect. The roaming market in Europe will undergo a major transformation over the next two years, as roaming price premiums are removed. In keynote speeches, officials from the EU and regulators from Belgium and the U.K. discussed the evolution and significance of the new regulations, from imposing wholesale and retail roaming pricing caps, to introducing alternative roaming providers and local breakout concepts, to deciding to abolish roaming within the EU altogether.

A second theme of the event focused around strategies for shifting from wholesale to more focus on retail roaming. Many operators shared insights on how data roaming packs and real-time data analytics will offer important resources to help enhance the roaming experience in preparation for the new EU regulations. One of the keys to success with the transition lies in making use of real-time intelligence to nurture current subscriber relationships and improve customer satisfaction.

In addition to the EU roaming regulations, another theme that stood out for me at the conference was Wi-Fi roaming. A key trend is that the tablet market is driving Wi-Fi roaming requirements. This is being driven by the fact that around 75 percent of tablet devices have Wi-Fi as the only form of connectivity and that tablet use consumes more data and network capacity than laptop computer use. The discussion focused on solutions for enabling seamless Wi-Fi handover from mobile network traffic. With today’s network fragmentation, booming app market and 4G roaming options, the need for a smooth network to Wi-Fi roaming interchange will continue to grow in importance.

In sum, Roaming World Congress was absorbing, energizing and promising. Witnessing so many of the industry’s best and brightest working to make roaming better and better reinforces my belief that the best days of mobile are ahead of us.

 

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Ben Bannister is a former Senior Manager of Product Marketing at Syniverse.

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