Free data roaming – the next-generation offer for your subscribers

by BICS | October 1, 2021

Free data roaming – the next-generation offer for your subscribers
clock 2 mins read

International travel restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges for mobile network operators (MNOs) and virtual network operators (MVNOs) that have to contend with declining data roaming traffic.

Most operators have struggled in the past to activate ‘silent data roamers’ – those who are reluctant to turn on data roaming, even though reasonably priced packages are readily available. International travelers often worry about high charges for using a small amount of data. As a result, they frequently keep international roaming turned off.

The roamer opts instead to confine their internet access to the hotel or purchase a local SIM card. This means they have to go through the inconvenience of swapping SIMs and missing calls and texts on their main SIM.

How can MNOs counteract this behavior and revitalize their roaming business by soon as the travel restrictions are lifted up? The answer is seamless connectivity with free data roaming.

Offering personalized data plans to drive up revenues

MNOs and MVNOs success will be all about psychological reassurance. By allowing data roaming at a low data speed at zero cost, MNOs can eliminate the fear that roamers have of turning on data roaming.

Subscribers will be encouraged to leave data roaming on if they feel secure that they will not get additional charges for using mobile apps, voice calls, or text messages. They will only have access to a limited set of capabilities – for example, sending Whatsapp messages, use a search engine, etc. – but they will get used to the concept of having access to data roaming.

Offering a high speed data pass soon after arriving in a foreign country will lead to more people choosing the package. Experience has shown that MNOs can expect package sales to triple compared to package sales where the subscriber has to jump from no access or high cost per megabyte to a package.

The increased package sales produce far more revenue than the costs incurred to offer free data roaming at, for example, 128 KBit/ second.

To implement this data roaming strategy, MNOs need:

  • Flexible data policy control to give outbound subscribers exactly 128 KBit/ second using accurate GTP-u throttling when they land.
  • Configurable silent roamer and welcome campaigns to inform subscribers about free data roaming and promote high-speed package at the right time.
  • Package management to provide fast internet access for specific durations (e.g., one day, one week, etc.). Volume can be limited or unlimited per package.
  • Combinations of the above for different subscriber segments such as prepaid, postpaid, postpaid light, and VIP.
  • Real-time seamless subscriber portal that allows subscribers to buy and activate packages on-the-go.

This strategy can:

  • Substantially increase data roaming package sales and consequently data roaming revenue
  • Eliminate bill shock for both subscriber and MNO
  • Keep the subscriber using your SIM
  • Increase trust in your brand
  • Increase stickiness of the subscriber to your network

Maximize your revenue and optimize your subscribers’ experience with BICS Data Roaming Control.  Book a demo today.