Mobile operators must address demands from enterprises and consumers for international coverage and service continuity for their fast-growing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Global roaming is expected to work seamlessly for IoT devices that are produced in one country but used in various geographical markets. However, a few of these mobile operators, backed up by local regulators, still enforce restrictions over permanent roaming as a preventative measure to shield their markets.
Enterprises work with mobile operators and IoT connectivity providers to use new technologies such as narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) to benefit from a long battery lifetime and low energy consumption, as well as a seamless international roaming footprint. IoT roaming is in demand for smart meters, connected cars, asset tracking and many other use cases from multiple industries.
Instead of applying permanent roaming restrictions as demanded by several regulators globally, a more judicious approach is to enable permanent IoT roaming with safeguards to protect domestic markets. In the consumer market, we have already witnessed how mobile operators have extensively utilised fair usage policies for roam-like-at-home tariffs to protect against abuse, and how international travellers have defined safeguards like cut-off mechanisms with maximum financial limits on data roaming.
An increasing number of mobile operators have taken a similar approach in their commercial negotiations for IoT roaming traffic. Their target is to keep the inbound IoT traffic under control, whilst, at the same time, positioning themselves as the preferred choice for global connectivity for the domestic enterprise market. These mobile operators have found that IoT roaming is no longer a threat or a concern, but rather an opportunity to grow their wholesale revenues. With the right monetisation strategies and tools in place, mobile operators will benefit from opening their networks for permanent IoT roaming to accelerate the growth of global IoT and the digitalisation of many industries.