The Value of the $17 Billion Transient Mobile Roamer Market
Syniverse says that it has uncovered the value of a significant segment of mobile end users who are willing to go to great lengths for connectivity when they leave home beyond those options enabled by their home mobile service providers.
According to analyses of Syniverse and third-party data, "transient roamers" - those who seek alternatives to traditional mobile roaming - spent more than $17 billion dollars in 2012 on alternative connectivity options while traveling that include purchasing local SIM cards at their destinations and paying for Wi-Fi at hotels, in flight or on other public hotspots.
"'Transient roamers' represent a significant portion of the mobile ecosystem, and their requirements for consistent, high-quality connectivity are growing exponentially," Syniverse President and CEO Jeff Gordon said. "This segment provides an opportunity for the myriad of mobile service providers to enable seamless connectivity across the ecosystem, managing end-user experiences in real time and solidifying each provider's place in the value chain."
Syniverse calculated the "transient roamer" potential based on expert insights into average roaming volumes, end-user roaming habits, and third-party travel and roaming reports. The more than $17 billion "transient roamer" market size encompasses estimates for three of the most prominent alternative roaming scenarios.
Calculations are of end-user spending in 2012, including:
- Mobile roamers spent the most on hotel Wi-Fi - $8.7 billion - to meet their connectivity needs.
- Outside of the hotel, an additional $3.9 billion was spent purchasing access to other paid Wi-Fi hotspots while an estimated $225 million was spent on in-flight Wi-Fi.
- The purchase of local SIM cards was another popular alternative with $4.8 billion going toward voice, text and data charges as well as rental fees for SIM cards purchased in visited networks.
"Mobile service providers of all types should see opportunity in these numbers," said Iain Gillott, President of iGR, a market research consultancy focused on the wireless industry. "For established and new providers, it means solidifying their position in the roaming value chain while focusing on new ways to enable valuable connectivity. Ultimately, this type of innovative, consumer-focused ecosystem drives mobile usage and must be cultivated by interworking between a range of mobile service providers. To succeed, mobile service providers need to be backed by capabilities to eliminate complexity and manage end-user experiences in real time."
When arriving in a foreign destination, end users can quickly become "transient roamers" as they stop to purchase local SIMs at the nearest airline terminal or pay for hotel Wi-Fi. Or those users can become "silent roamers" by greatly diminishing or discontinuing their use of mobile service altogether. In 2012, Syniverse calculated that "silent roamers" represented $1.2 billion in annual missed revenue opportunity for mobile service providers.
With instantaneous visibility into the trillions of transactions that traverse mobile networks each year, Syniverse is able to deliver real-time experience management to mobile service providers, enabling them to interact with end users before they become silent or transient and to deliver relevant, compelling service offers across mobile and Wi-Fi.
To bridge mobile networks with the world of Wi-Fi for these "transient roamers," Syniverse has developed a number of Wi-Fi interoperability solutions that cover the range of needs from reach to facilitation of clearing to enabling voice and messaging traffic to traverse a Wi-Fi network.
"By combining our Real-Time Intelligence and Wi-Fi interoperability solutions, mobile service providers of all types are able to seize the opportunity presented by 'transient roamers' while delivering the superior experiences these end users expect," Gordon said. "With billions of dollars at stake, achieving seamless, individually tailored end-user experiences is vital to long-term success."