Roaming fraud is up, customer experience is down, common sense does not live here anymore

Irritation is rising at BillingViews Boulevard. Normally this irritation is not caused by inane press releases announcing that vendor ‘x’ has sold something to operator ‘y’ and expecting us to be impressed. We simply press ‘delete.’

We are now officially irritated by this whole data roaming thing. We were encouraged by news that the European Commission were going to scrap data roaming charges as of, oh, about now. Then we became amused and annoyed that a Tier One European Operator sent operatives round to have a ‘talk’ with Neelie Kroes and, lo and behold, the date was pushed back. It is now happening in December 2015. Apparently.

The reason that irritation is reaching such high levels is that roaming charges make no sense whatsoever.

A press release – one of those ‘how clever are we’ press releases where vendor ‘x’ had sold something to operator ‘y’ – had something of interest in it and the delete button was spared.

Fraud statistics.

According to the Communications Fraud Control Association, revenue loss from roaming fraud last year was $6.1 billion and is rising.

Why this is irritating is that we already know that about 70 percent of travellers switch off their data when they get to an airport. And yet, operators are doing everything they can to delay the inevitable day when they cannot overcharge their customers when they go abroad.

So, between the latent opportunities that will emerge if customers keep their data on wherever they are and the threats from fraud, the arguments for keeping artificially high charges evaporate.

Real time responsiveness is key to both solutions. The ‘Tier One European Operator’ has implemented the real time roaming solution referred to in the press release and is saving $7 million a year as a result. Now that this responsiveness is available and will soon be harnessed with the ability to reconfigure networks on the fly the fraud threat evaporates.

The same real time responsiveness can both control fraud, enhance customer experience and manage risks and costs for operators. The bottom line is ‘why wait’ – let’s abolish data roaming charges now.

And, by the way, if it is the same operator that is saving $7 million a year in roaming fraud and putting pressure on the Regulator to delay the abolition of roaming charges the irritation levels along BillingViews Boulevard will reach truly dangerous levels.

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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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