Increased 4G-LTE uptake to push data roaming revenues past $40b by 2018

Mobile operators will make almost 50 per cent of revenue from mobile data roaming by 2018 as the uptake of 4G LTE data continues to fill the coffers of firms across the globe.

Related: A guide to the UK’s best 4G LTE: EE vs Vodafone vs O2 vs Three

Figures published as part of a report by Juniper Research estimates that operator revenue from mobile data roaming will total $42 billion [£25.5 billion] by 2018, which will represent 46 per cent of the global roaming revenue compared to 36 per cent currently.

“Operator migration towards 4G will induce consumers to take advantage of faster broadband networks, while reductions in roaming charges will spur more frequent and heavier usage,” stated a press release announcing the findings.

The figures are part of the Mobile Roaming: Regulations, Opportunities & In-flight Strategies 2014-2018 report that talks a lot about 4G LTE and how there needs to be a focus on providing end users with a package that is value for money.

“Operators also need to sort out the right economics to encourage more usage at a value to the end users in order to avoid revenue erosion. They need to also provide services that are both relevant and cost effective to LTE roamers,” stated report author Nitin Bhas.

One way in which roaming revenue levels will be impacted is the end to roaming charges across all countries in the European Union. What this would do is to erode European voice, SMS and data revenues by some 20 per cent. This isn’t as detrimental as it sounds as the release states that the usage and number of roamers will remain at high levels and could be a case of mobile operators finding different ways to derive revenue from roaming in Europe.

Related: EU plans telecoms overhaul by scrapping roaming fees and cutting costs

Europe has been talking about scrapping roaming charges for some time and made moves in that direction by capping the amount operators can charge. By 1 July 2014 it plans to ban all incoming call charges when travelling in the EU and the move is one that has been opposed by a number of operators.