Evolving from a Premium to a Mass Market Data Roaming Model
2011.07.26   |   29 pages   |   Consumer Contract Segment   |   Tariffing Mobile Services for Profit


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The term 'billshock' has become a rallying cry for telecom regulators and a nightmare for mobile operators. It has led to regulators, most notably the EU Commission for the Digital Agenda, focusing on the price of international data roaming with the objective of eliminating the high prices that prevent data roaming from becoming a mass market service.

It is arguable that the efforts of the EU and others and media reporting on these efforts has hampered the transformation of data roaming from premium service to the mass market. The overwhelming response of many roamers, especially consumers, is a fear that leads them to closely control their usage or even curtail it altogether.

Practices such as disabling automatic data services (e.g. BlackBerry Messaging and e-mail syncing) are common. However, despite the regulatory activity and ensuing publicity, mobile operators also need to look at their own legacies in the data roaming market. These are frequently a combination of high prices and the encouragement of practices such as curtailed usage and the informal encouragement of automatic service disablement.

The pathway to mass market acceptance of data roaming lies in differentiated data roaming propositions. Operators must re-connect customers with roaming services that they use without a second thought in the home network environment. This paper examines the conditions for achieving mass market take up of mobile data roaming, significant regulatory activity and the strategies that can lead to success.

Keywords: EU Roaming, Data Roaming, Data Charging,

Table of Contents
1 Overview 1
2 Introduction 2
2.1 Background to the Report 2
2.2 Report Content 3
2.3 Currency and Conversions 3
2.4 Further Questions and Feedback 3
3 Roaming Regulation to Date 4
3.1 The European Union 4
3.1.1 Roaming Regulation and its Effects on the European Market 5
3.1.2 The Implications for Data Roaming in Europe 9
3.2 The Expected Influence of the European Experience in the USA and Southern Africa 9
4 Innovation in Data Roaming Propositions 11
4.1 Overview 11
4.2 Roaming Data Bundles - Vodafone Data Traveller 13
4.3 Flat Rates - Meteor Ireland 16
4.4 Charging and Usage Caps - O2 UK and Starhub Singapore 19
4.4.1 O2 UK Monthly Charging Caps 19
4.4.2 Starhub Singapore Roam Manager 21
5 Key Findings 25
5.1.1 The Influence of Wholesale Data Roaming Costs 25
5.1.2 The Role of Data Notifications and Usage Caps 26
5.1.3 Key Features of Effective Mass Market Data Roaming Propositions 26
6 Recommendations 29
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