There’s a buzz around Roaming costs… since the press got hold of the trend towards “roam like home” promotions (leading up to July’s changes to Roaming Regulation in Europe) and also with all the new entrants to Roaming coming through in 2014.
Of course in the past few years we have all seen a trend in our industry for the evolution of Roaming costs and it’s not surprising that with 600+ MVNOS in Europe that there are an increasing number of Roaming MVNOs being launched and all kinds of start-ups looking at the opportunities in Roaming. Our Regulation Research conducted in the final quarter of 2013 confirms several new players and also some interesting new start-ups.
Associated with these start-ups are the entrepreneurs who make them happen (either by founding or funding them). Often these are technology experts with a frequent traveller background who have been raged with the historical high data roaming fees. Many are in thrust positions that are new to them: facing the media, managing staff and working with telecoms Operators in a roaming capacity for the first time.
We believe in the Roaming Regulation and want to see companies succeed, but it’s frustrating. Some of these companies will hopefully prosper but we fear that many will not. From a roaming perspective it is interesting to see how many people find themselves as a Roaming provider without any previous experience in this field. Making bold decisions without support and cutting corners can cost a lot of revenues in the Roaming arena. We’re watching the failed start-ups and trying to understand why they didn’t make it.
Interestingly while normal Mobile Operators get no mentoring when they join the GSMA (to present them with the Standards they must adhere to) MVNO’s are not even required to join the GSMA and such standards as created by larger Operators to deliver Roaming are mostly confidential documents and hard to decipher. Even if MVNO’s were to join the GSMA they would need to know how to pick out the relevant documents and start working out what’s relevant to them.
These entrepreneurs need a personalised and often private coach or mentor. ROCCO has met with several such companies in the last year and provided strategy, education and research – giving them the ad hoc support they need to make the right decisions in our industry. People who are smart enough to realise that Roaming is a specialist area and that their past skills and behaviours may not be adequate for their new accountabilities.
Here’s a clue to success in Roaming: A business case for Roaming should include the kind of strategy that is looking at all the macro, micro and local elements, it sounds basic but when your running fast towards launching a business its not always easy to think of everything.
My goodness! Good Luck and we look forwards to seeing how Roaming in 2014 progresses.
Our Roaming Regulation Survey will be published this January. Look out for more details in ROCCO Research.
If you’re in the UK check out this new Roaming App “Roaming Buddy” http://www.roamingbuddy.com who should be monitoring all the Data Roaming Providers of the Industry from a UK perspective.