4G roaming traffic doubled in 2019 as industry gears up for 5G, says BICS

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Wholesale carrier BICS says 4G roaming traffic doubled in 2019 for the third consecutive year.

Sourced from BICS’ global network, which connects over 700 operators and 500 digital service providers and carries over 50% of global data roaming traffic, the findings show an uplift in roaming traffic across all continents, fuelled by increased global travel, adoption of roaming tariffs, travel SIMs and IoT devices.

“The exponential growth in roaming traffic highlights how important international connectivity has become to the subscriber experience,” commented Mikaël Schachne, CMO and VP Mobility & IoT Business at BICS.

5G roaming

In July, BICS launched a 5G roaming service between Swisscom and SK Telecom. BICS says 2019 saw “momentum build” for both national and international 5G, with approximately 50 national 5G networks now live.

The company predicts that in 2020, 5G roaming will gain further traction, as service providers progress 5G deployments and launch 5G roaming to support increasing demand from both subscribers and industries requiring high-speed, ultra-low latency data connectivity.

“Through the provision of seamless, cross-border 5G connectivity, operators will be able to create new revenue streams and support a wide range of new and innovative use cases in areas such as automotive, gaming, telemedicine and logistics,” Schachne said.

“As carriers launch 5G networks, roaming must be at the heart of their offerings to deliver maximum value for subscribers.”