Mobile roaming charges are on their way out in Europe, as we discussed in our previous blog post on the topic. The EU legislation comes into force on the 15th June and means people moving between member states will enjoy calls, texts, and data at the domestic price. Our recent survey confirms that almost 42% of mobile users expect to move between countries worldwide by 2025 without paying any roaming charges.
While this is undoubtedly great news for consumers, the legislation does pose challenges to European MNOs, who need to adapt their business models to avoid falls in revenue. We’ve seen interesting announcements from telecom giants in recent weeks. O2 revealed their Pay Monthly and Business customers will be able to use their home plans in 47 European destinations with no extra expense, while EE has announced a similar deal. Three is going even further, offering free roaming in 60 destinations. Furthermore, Movistar, Orange and Yoigo are also scrapping charges.
Of course, with the UK leaving the EU, it will be interesting to see whether these rules still apply in post-Brexit Britain. But we can speculate it might be difficult for UK operators to ramp up prices after the formal breakaway happens, and consumers have had two years roaming for free.
So, with this new regulatory landscape, what should MNOs do if they are worried about addressing revenue shortfalls?
Enhancing the customer experience
MNOs should dedicate more resources to enhancing the customer experience – as service is becoming the only competitive differentiator that matters. Personalization should be prioritized. Operators should seize on the data at their disposal, such as end-user behavior, as well as information on their customers’ operating system and SIM cards, to offer tailored mobile marketing initiatives.
Furthermore, operators should look to address network issues as soon as they arise. Customers should not have to report network problems; MNOs should already be aware and immediately tackling any issues. Advanced roaming analytics is a great way of dealing with these problems. You can read more about Quality of Experience dashboards at our dedicated webpage.
MNOs have valid concerns that a roaming free environment may be abused. For instance, a German mobile user might be able to buy a much cheaper plan in Romania and use it every day at home. In response, the European Commission recently announced modifications to the initial regulations.
By using roaming analytics, MNOs can look at end-user usage patterns, spotting peculiarities and identifying users who are abusing the system.
But this could be construed as a privacy issue, so MNOs will need to build trust with consumers if they are to successfully adapt to the new regulatory environment.
All in all, the abolition of roaming charges poses some challenges to MNOs, but they can overcome pressures by investing in a high-quality customer experience and advanced roaming analytics.
Are you excited about the abolition of roaming charges? Do you think MNOs will successfully adapt to the new climate? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting to us at @Gemalto or by posting a comment below.