Thursday February 9, 2012

Wi-Fi Offers Operators Clear Route for Data Roaming Monetisation, MACH Survey Finds

58 per cent of smartphone/tablet roamers don’t use 3G when abroad

68 per cent in favour of transparent Wi-Fi roaming services delivered by their operator

An online consumer survey commissioned by MACH, the leading provider of cloud-based managed communication services, has demonstrated that operators stand to benefit from a large untapped market in data roaming simply by employing Wi-Fi. The online research, carried out by YouGov, has shown that 24 per cent of smartphone/tablet users have never accessed mobile data when abroad. Of those that have, 45 per cent have not used 3G at all, and 43% prefer instead to connect over paid for Wi-Fi.

Lokdeep Singh, Chief Technology Officer, MACH, commented: “These results demonstrate that Wi-Fi is a key access technology for mobile data when abroad. When roaming subscribers move to Wi-Fi, the operator effectively loses sight of them, and therefore misses out on the ability to sell further services to the customer. Operators should look today at how they can successfully market new Wi-Fi offerings, both to gain market share of existing Wi-Fi users, and to address the untapped market of smartphone and tablet owners who are currently not using data services when roaming.”

When asked why they prefer Wi-Fi over 3G when abroad, 35 per cent of Wi-Fi roamers cited a wish to avoid bill shock as their prime motivator, with 33 percent claiming cost benefits. 19 per cent meanwhile stated that they prefer Wi-Fi because it is faster than 3G for data downloads. Finally, 68 per cent of smartphone/tablet users who have used either device while abroad, claimed they would be more likely to access Wi-Fi for data roaming if their mobile operator provided them with Wi-Fi-based roaming services (i.e. Wi-Fi usage was billed directly to their bill/ account) for use when abroad and at a reasonable rate.

Singh continued: “These are interesting results. If operators can provide a seamless experience for the user to log onto Wi-Fi and also integrate billing into their overall service capability, then their addressable market can be significantly expanded. It is also interesting that for a subscriber, control of costs is as much of a concern as the costs themselves. Consumers feel more in control of their costs with Wi-Fi: it is not about just knowing that Wi-Fi is cheaper, it is also about knowing that they will only spend a set amount and not go over it accidently. Moreover, as 19 per cent of respondents prefer the speed of Wi-Fi, there is an untapped market here for operators that can be differentiated on speed and not just price.”


About the research

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2026 adults, of which 1189 have used a smartphone/tablet abroad. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th – 9th January 2012. The survey was carried out online.

About MACH

MACH connects and monetizes the telecom world with its comprehensive and growing portfolio of cloud-based communication services. It provides its 650 operator customers with solutions to monetize mobile data, simplify interoperability between networks, optimize wholesale processes and protect revenues. MACH is the largest provider of data and financial clearing solutions for wireless roaming and operates the globe’s largest and fastest growing open connectivity roaming hub, Link2One. It inserts the operator in the content and application value chain and serves the reseller and wholesaler community with its A2P messaging solutions. Headquartered in Luxembourg, MACH has offices in 12 countries. Its customers include Orange, Telefonica, T-Mobile, Telus, Verizon Wireless and Microsoft, as well as enterprise messaging customers like KLM. For more information, visit


Eileen Preston, Global PR Manager
[email protected], +44 7860 456193

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article/press release are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the approved policy or position of the GSMA or its subsidiaries.

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