Mobile Security Expert AdaptiveMobile urged mobile operators to carefully consider their international mobile broadband strategies.
This follows the European Union's threat to impose legal measures to make operators cut the amount they charge their mobile broadband customers for roaming on overseas networks, which has made some operators consider banning all customers from downloading data through their mobile broadband service while abroad to avoid getting involved in a high profile legal wrangle.
However, AdaptiveMobile argues that operators taking a simplistic view to blocking subscribers' mobile broadband usage while abroad run the risk of losing the significant revenues promised by mobile broadband subscribers willing to pay for a high-quality roaming service.
Gareth Maclachlan, COO of AdaptiveMobile, comments: "Whilst operators understandably don't want to be perceived as trying to unfairly glean excess revenues from unwitting subscribers while abroad, taking a 'one size fits all' approach blocking their usage while abroad will result in them losing very significant revenues, at a time when you would expect them to be looking to maximise their 3G network investments. Even though there is the suggestion that subscribers would be able to lift the block, for a high proportion, this would be too disruptive and operators would never maximise their average revenue per user (ARPU).
In this way, they can not only control subscribers' mobile broadband usage in the UK and abroad, but also the type of content that is being delivered over their network to the user, in terms of blocking spam and viruses, and in the case of vulnerable users, inappropriate or intimidating messages and imagery.
They should also make steps to better protect roaming users from unnecessary data usage, such as application and operating system updates, which can be upto 500Mb in size and in many cases are downloaded without user knowledge.