In recent years, the popularity of free-roaming has been significant, reflecting continued demand for mobile services from tourists and business travellers alike. In Europe, supported by the Roam-Like-At-Home initiative, BICS registered a 600-800% increase in LTE data roaming traffic in the EU. And earlier this year, we reported that 4G roaming traffic across our global network has doubled for the third year running.
Following the success of the RLAH initiative, other regions have followed suit, with Africa being the latest to adopt a roaming scheme thanks to the creation of the SMART Africa Alliance. Marking a bold move from African heads of state to accelerate socio-economic development across the continent, SMART Africa aims to develop the continent’s ‘knowledge economy’ through affordable access to broadband and the use of information and communications technologies.
The ‘One Africa Network’ project was then established to improve integration of communities and businesses across the African continent. Advocating the free movement of people, boosting trade and developing, and fostering intracontinental growth, the project will be enabled via affordable voice and data roaming rates and cross-border mobile payments, supporting millions of Africans within SMART Africa member states.
This week, BICS is proud to announce that we have joined the alliance, and will be working with SMART Africa to reduce roaming charges across the continent. An early investor in the Africa market, BICS is committed to supporting ongoing free-roaming efforts, helping more citizens and businesses to unlock the benefits of the connected world.
We’re able to support the initiative thanks to our infrastructure on the continent, and our connections to nearly all the mobile networks in Africa. This means BICS reaches around 95% of African subscribers directly, enabling international voice, messaging, and data roaming connectivity.
BICS has over 140 points-of-presence (PoP) worldwide, which brings us physically closer to our customers, and, by keeping voice and data traffic in the local area (rather than re-routing it out of the country and back), enables us to deliver high-quality services at an attractive price point. In the African region alone, our extensive network contains multiple submarine cables, as well as several technical PoPs in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Djibouti and Mauritius.
As a leading, preeminent global wholesale carrier, already carrying a significant proportion of voice, messaging and data roaming traffic within Africa, and with our turn-key roaming solutions, we’re perfectly positioned to roll out new initiatives affordably, and in a very short timeframe. If you’re an operator or Internet Service Provider, and you’d like to find out more about offering instant global roaming capabilities, do get in touch.