5G roamers to surpass 200mn by 2026 as operators pushed to accelerate rollouts

Scarlett Woodford of Juniper Research

A new Juniper Research study has found that the global number of roaming subscribers using 5G services will increase from 4.5 million in 2021 to 210 million in 2026.

As the international travel industry recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it recommends that operators must now focus on increasing 5G roaming support to accommodate the future rise in demand for data when roaming over 5G networks.

The new research, 5G Roaming Strategies: Future Outlook, Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2021-2026, urges roaming vendors to develop 5G-enabled roaming features such as:

  1. Roaming analytics
  2. Sponsored roaming
  3. Steering of roaming

These services will support the management of an increasing number of 5G roaming connections, the rise in demand for 5G roaming data, and help operators to maximise 5G roaming monetisation.

5G roaming data to represent 115mn hours of 4K video by 2026

The report predicts that, as 5G roaming proliferates, vendor competition around the 5G-enabled roaming services mentioned above will intensify. Subscribers will expect comparable levels of bandwidth and latency when roaming over 5G to home network connectivity, and roaming vendors must accommodate this demand via value-added services.

The study projects that global roaming data traffic from 5G subscribers will increase from 2.6 PB in 2021 to 770 PB by 2026; representing enough data to stream 115 million hours of 4K video from platforms such as Netflix.

5G technology to necessitate roaming overhaul

In addition, the research found that this anticipated rise in data will necessitate the establishment of novel agreements that explicitly cover 5G roaming data, and provide roaming subscribers with comparable user experiences whilst roaming.

Research author Scarlett Woodford notes, “As demand for international travel returns, operators must adjust to the significant uptake of 5G subscriptions during the pandemic. A failure to provide 5G roaming capabilities in key travel destinations will diminish brand reputation amongst subscribers and lead to churn to competitors.”

For more insights, download the free whitepaper: The Rise of the 5G Roaming Empire

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