Data Roaming a Turn Off – and Becoming Bad Business

With mobile operators scrambling to devise a strategy to combat the ban on data roaming charges coming in 2014, Wi-Fi is but one strategy. As Martin Morgan pointed out yesterday, Wi-Fi offload is getting more and more attention. The problems are making sure the quality is consistent and that billing understands the policy about Wi-Fi usage versus wireless data.

Although Wi-Fi is a good, low cost solution, in-depth research conducted by BillingViews points to simply stopping charging for data roaming would be a solution as well. The sample for this research were two teenage boys, both of whom go to decent schools and go abroad for their holidays.

Fully 100 percent of this survey group thought that data roaming charges were unfair. And asked whether they were told to turn data off when they went on holiday, again fully 100 percent of the sample said yes.

Sensing that we were onto something, BillingViews followed up with questions about the survey group’s friends. How many of them, we asked, were asked to turn off data when they went on holiday. After some consultation on the subject, the consensus was that approximately 80 percent turned off data.

And, in a final piece of analysis, we asked whether they would use their data as normal if there was no extra charge. Again, apart from time spent swimming or reading by the pool – they go to decent schools – fully 100 percent said that they would use data as normal when abroad and surmised that some socio economic elements would in fact increase their data usage during the down time of a holiday.

Whilst this ‘piece of research’ might seem flippant it is also complete common sense. Statistics vary on how many people travel abroad but the most sensible one is that approximately six million Britons, for example, travel abroad every year and the majority go for a holiday.

Just for fun, then, that could equate to four and half million turning their data off when they hit the airport. That means no usage.

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Alex Leslie
About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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