Top 5 keys to monetizing data roaming

February 21, 2013 - Aleks

According to the research firm Juniper, fear of bill shock drives almost 75% of travelers to avoid using mobile data while abroad. With more than 570 million mobile roamers globally, operators that deliver pricing clarity and control to subscribers could see mobile data roaming emerge as a lucrative source of revenue.

Clarity and control can both be delivered within data roaming service passes. Service passes enable the casual ad hoc purchase of roaming data directly from the mobile device. Cost is understood up front, and usage information is delivered in real time.

Data roaming represents billions in untapped revenue. To take advantage of this growth potential, operators must:

  • Provide roamers with real-time visibility and control over data service usage and (especially) cost.
  • Engage with roamers via real-time notifications to promote roaming data packages.
  • Make it easy and convenient for customers to travel without worry by using the device as a real-time purchasing channel for data roaming passes anytime, anywhere.

Data roaming service pass: Top 5 requirements

Engage with customers directly, maintain face-time and relevance: Traditionally the only touch point between operators and their customers was a negative one: the bill. Operators must fight to build their engagement and relevance with customers if a more diversified retail offering is to be successful. Operators have a direct engagement channel to their customers through the device – they should use it for timely notifications as well as access to (not spammy promotions of) service offerings.

Provide up front cost information and real-time usage information: Well-educated and informed customers generate higher levels of profitability and higher lifetime value. Customers with full transparency and understanding of data usage and costs feel more confident about using incrementally higher amounts of data, are less expensive (e.g. generate fewer care calls) and are less likely to churn.

Improve analytics and understanding of the customer: Blind promotion and/or superficial engagement leave the operator open to challenges that offer more nuanced, personalized or controlled services. Subscriber clarity and control is important for more than just usage and cost – it also defines how and how often an operator engages with a subscriber. Operators must maximize the reach of their solutions by understanding and addressing specific customer segments.

Innovate: To succeed and grow, operators must be prepared to keep pace with a rapid level of innovation. Smaller, third-party developers have proven effective at iterating their service to maximize their usefulness. Addressing the cultural and technical obstacles to similar innovation is important for operator success. For example, the nature of a “data roaming pass” isn’t written in stone. Some may involve a third-party partnership. Some may provide for unlimited access to a particular service.

Prepare for risk of failure, don’t fear it: Delivering an innovative new product or service involves risk. A new offering sometimes doesn’t succeed in the market despite comprehensive analysis and successful focus groups. Operators can manage risk with an end-to-end, flexible service delivery infrastructure that enables an operator to navigate an uncertain market with rapid updates to services, and pricing.

Happy customers deliver more revenue

The benefits of introducing data roaming service passes that can be purchased on the device are numerous, benefiting both operators and subscribers. Making customers feel more comfortable and in control of their budget and usage will allow for increased data revenues and roaming average revenue per user. Providers will also save on customer service costs by reducing bill shock complaints and enabling a number of self-service tasks to be done without a customer representative.

Overall, operators can create a competitive edge by rapidly launching innovative data passes based on different variables while building customer loyalty by providing a personalized experience.

RCR Wireless


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