Roaming traffic in Asia increased by 245% in 2018, BICS data shows


Data roaming traffic across Asia is rising by 245% according to BICS. The data is sourced from BICS’s global network, which connects over 700 operators and 500 digital service providers.

The company also reports that traffic between Asia and the Middle East and Europe is also rising fast. Outbound roaming traffic from Asia in the first quarter of this year increased by 88%, compared with the same period of 2018. Inbound roaming volumes from the same regions grew by 81%, reflecting continued demand for mobile services abroad from tourists and business travellers.

“Subscribers now expect high quality, affordable roaming services, whether they’re travelling inside or outside of Asia, while enterprises managing fleets of connected devices need uninterrupted, cross-border connectivity,” said Malcolm Chan, managing director for Asia-Pacific at BICS.

This huge uplift is being driven by increased adoption of roaming, new tariffs plans, travel SIMs and IoT devices across the continent, said BICS, which claims to carry over 50% of global data roaming traffic.

“While APAC has yet to follow in the EU’s footsteps with tariff-free roaming, roaming costs have fallen, encouraging more subscribers to use their phones abroad, and helping to drive the commoditisation of mobile services,” said Chan. “This presents a major opportunity for mobile operators, who can boost revenues and enhance the customer experience through offering roaming packages.”

BICS anticipates that global data roaming traffic will continue to surge with the expansion of 5G. According to Ericsson, 5G coverage is forecast to reach 45% of the world’s population, by the end of 2024, with 5G networks projected to carry 35% of global mobile traffic.

Chan added: “An exploding IoT sector and gradual roll-out of 5G in the region – including China and South Korea – will add to the demand from Asia’s booming manufacturing and digital economy, meaning we’re likely to see similar growth in terms of roaming data in the coming year.”





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