In-flight mobile roaming revenues $3 billion by 2020

In-flight roaming revenues will hit $3 billion by 2020, doubling the value estimated for this year, according to a new report from Juniper Research.


in-flightIn-flight roaming use is set to explode over the next five years as passengers metaphorically clamber over their seats for mobile voice, data and SMS.

While in-flight roaming will only represent around 5% of mobile revenues globally by 2020, these revenues will largely be driven by increasing data usage. This would primarily emanate from consumers being attracted by a combination of reduced retail roaming charges and an increase in the availability of higher speed data such as 3G and 4G.

The research observed that while in-flight roaming trends closely follow terrestrial roaming trends, roaming charges continue to be significantly higher. For example, Vodafone NZ charges $2.3 per minute for making a voice call and $13 per MB for data usage on selected airlines. Meanwhile, Vodafone UK charges $5 per MB for up to 5MB, then $27 for every 5MB after that; for voice it charges approximately $3 for making a call.

Nearly all traffic, whether free or paid for, is delivered via a satellite and there are inherent satellite charges to be included. The research found that while there is great uncertainty amongst stakeholders on how this market will develop, in-flight mobile service providers will continue to bundle satellite charges into their wholesale roaming packages.

Research author Nitin Bhas added: “High in-flight mobile roaming charges will continue to be a key hurdle for the industry. Given the steep pricing levels for in-flight roaming, the average annual spend per mobile roamer on in-flight and maritime roaming services will only represent a modest increase over the forecast period.”

Monty (627 Posts)

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.


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About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.