Starhome, a provider of roaming services, is predicting that solutions which stimulate roaming traffic and add new data subscribers will be in high demand in 2009. The solutions will increase individual mobile operators' revenues by up to 40 percent, and operators offering this solution can increase their data roaming usage by an average of 35-45 percent, claims Starhome.
The prediction is said to be based on discussions with 30 leading operators, with Starhome concluding that a strategic shift to an emphasis on mobile roaming data is already underway.
Industry leaders are claimed to support Starhome's vision, with Marc Furrer, the Head of Roaming and Interworking at Swisscom, stating that solutions offering flat rates and/or bundles for mobile data roaming will be the "hot solutions for 2009."
An explosion in mobile roaming data usage is predicted for the immediate future. "Demand for internet access is booming and mobile customers are increasingly focusing on sophisticated handsets and of course the internet," said Maurizio Martucci, Director of Marketing for Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM Italy). "Our customers want to access the Web's rich content for many reasons, regardless of whether they are home or abroad."
In addition to the predicted upsurge in usage, mobile operators are focusing on mobile roaming data due to expected governmental regulations of the new technology, especially in Europe.
Starhome expects the transition for mobile operators to more effective management of mobile roaming data to be fairly straight forward, since the major pieces are already in place. The shares of sales for Advanced/Open OS global handsets are predicted to increase every year until 2012 and feature phones are also proliferating.
"The explosion of the iPhone onto the mobile scene has triggered a massive increase in mobile data usage, both domestically and in the roaming market," said Furrer. "Many iPhone roamers don't understand that roaming rates are significantly higher, and they experience ‘bill shock' when they return home. Transparency and simple pricing schemes are a must for today's operators."
"The mobile operators who succeed in 2009 will deploy Roaming Control solutions that provide a bundle of services to satisfy all of the users' data, voice and messaging roaming needs, while helping the operators comply with all relevant regulations," said Amit Daniel, Vice President of Marketing for Starhome. Operators who deploy such a solution will be able to provide flat fees and packages, and notifications with prices, to the end users.