Roaming 5G subscribers to ‘rise 4,500%’

The number of roaming subscribers using 5G services is set to hit 210 million in 2026, rising 4,500 per cent from 4.5 million in 2021, according to a report by analyst house Juniper Research.

Mobile roaming attempts to keep mobile users seamlessly connected to a network, regardless of where they are geographically, which could become increasingly difficult as different countries vary significantly in the pace of their 5G rollout.

The analyst’s report recommends that mobile operators should focus on increasing 5G roaming support to accommodate the future rise in the demand for data when roaming over 5G networks, as the international travel industry recovers from the pandemic.

The report predicts that vendor competition around the 5G-enabled roaming services will intensify as 5G roaming proliferates and that subscribers will expect comparable levels of bandwidth and latency when roaming over 5G to home network connectivity.

Juniper claimed that roaming vendors must accommodate this demand via value-added services.

The study also projects that global roaming data traffic from 5G subscribers will increase from 2.6 petabytes in 2021 to 770 petabytes by 2026; which Juniper claims represents enough data to stream 115 million hours of 4K video from platforms like Netflix.

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

Earlier this year, the UK came second in a worldwide ranking of sceptical online searches about 5G by Prolifics Testing; which reported around 93,000 online searches a month by Brits about the possible negative implications of 5G.

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

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