Operators ‘faced with $2bn lost revenue’ on 5G data roaming

Operators ‘faced with $2bn lost revenue’ on 5G data roaming

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Operators are wrongly identifying roaming data and are facing revenue losses of US$484 million this year alone, says a new report.

Juniper Research says these losses will continue to rise and the losses will be $2.1 billion by 2026, representing absolute growth of 331%.

“The report found the inability to distinguish between 4G and 5G data traffic using current standards will result in greater losses as the travel industry returns to pre-pandemic levels and 5G adoption increases,” says Juniper.

The report, Data & Financial Clearing: Emerging Trends, Key Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2021-2026, cites the support by operators for the billing and charging evolution (BCE) protocol as being “a key strategy to minimise the extent of revenue leakage”. This is an end-to-end industry-wide standard defined by the GSMA that introduces new capabilities that identify roaming data traffic over different network technologies.

Research author Scarlett Woodford remarked: “By combining BCE with AI-enabled roaming analytics suites, operators will be ideally positioned to deal with the rise in roaming data. Separating roaming traffic by network connectivity is essential to allow operators to charge roaming partners based on latency and download speed, and maximise overall 5G roaming revenue.”

According to Juniper Research, this issue of misidentifying roaming data will worsen as more 5G subscribers roam internationally. The report forecasts there will be over 200 million 5G roaming connections by 2026, rising from 5 million in 2021.

“This growth is driven by increasing 5G adoption and a return to pre-pandemic levels of international travel,” says the Juniper Research report.

“In response, it urges operators to identify emerging areas of potential revenue leakage by leveraging machine learning in roaming analytics tools to efficiently assess roaming behaviour and data usage.”

Operators must move away from established roaming clearing practices in favour of BCE, said Juniper.


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