4G roaming traffic almost doubled in 2018, according to BICS

23 January 2019 | James Pearce

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BICS has seen global 4G LTE traffic across its international network almost double in 2018, driven by an increasing demand for connectivity abroad.

4G/LTE traffic grew by 95% on 2017 according to BICS, with European-based carrier predicting this to increase even further in 2019. BICS is predicting 4G roaming will grow 40-50% in 2019.

This is because 20% of European subscribers are still to take advantage of the EU’s flagship ‘Roam Like at Home’ policy. ‘Roam Like at Home’ was launched by the EU in 2017, forcing European telecoms to drop massive roaming charges when customers are visiting other EU countries.

“4G/LTE roaming has opened up a plethora of opportunities for individual subscribers and businesses alike,” said Mikaël Schachne (pictured), VP mobility solutions at BICS. “However, when demand and reliance increase, so too must supporting infrastructure and service availability.”

BICS has seen its 4G roaming footprint grow by 316% since 2014, from 44 countries to 183, as more operators deployed LTE. According to BICS, there has been a 771% growth in the number of operators using its solutions over the last five years.

Globally, the number of operators offering 4G services has grown from just 70 in 2014 to 610 in 2018, with demand for faster mobile connectivity playing a role in the speed of deployments. More than 200 of those operators use BICS’ LTE solution, giving it around a 30% share of the market.

LTE signalling is part of BICS’ IP platform, which allows its service provider partners to exchange IP traffic bilaterally to any IPX destination through a single interconnection. It offers roaming and inter-working agreements with over 610 members.

Schachne continued: “European subscribers have enjoyed being able to ‘Roam Like at Home’ and now seek high quality, affordable roaming services, wherever they travel. This is forcing operators in other regions outside of the EU to match the European offering by coming together to offer more cost-effective packages to subscribers, while optimising traffic flow at the back-end.”