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Can Big Data transform mobile roaming?

February 17, 2016

Mick Higgins   

Blog contributor

Over the last few years, the use of big data to enhance a multitude of services, across a variety of industries, has become commonplace. While its presence might be less obvious to the everyday consumer, big data is having an effect on businesses in multiple ways, in their decision making and their overall market offering. What’s interesting about the use of big data is its ability to make an immediate impact on the mobile industry, and specifically the potential it holds to transform the roaming market.

There have been public discussions on roaming in the press, which have made it clear that it’s a market that is ready for an overhaul. Big data will be a key driver in its evolution. From a practical perspective, by applying real-time analytics to roaming, mobile network operators can focus on improving specific aspects of their roaming offerings. This means continuous improvements in quality of service and customer experience, and the chance to develop roaming services of the future.

So who would reap the rewards of a transformed roaming market? Regular travelers, for business and leisure with high mobile data usage demands could benefit from tailored roaming services. Big data provides analytics and insights that enable mobile communications service providers to identify and create tailored service plans based on a person’s roaming usage patterns, taking into consideration location, usage and service consumption. Ultimately, for roamers, this means they get a personalised plan that doesn’t lead to last minute add-ons and additional cost, a plan for their needs as opposed to a one-size-fits-all standard tariff.

Beyond a more tailored and cost-effective roaming service for customers, the possibilities that big data can bring to the mobile market go even further. With multiple streams of historical data about roaming and customer activity, service providers can build more dynamic and value added services, including proactive customer support beyond their home market.

Again, this enhances the overall service for roamers. Time and time again, many travelers have been met with unnecessary costs, a lack of clear communication and service providers failing to identify and fulfil the needs of their customers, without even knowing it. If an overhauled and transformed roaming service isn’t enough, the ability to have proactive customer support will make all the difference.

In future increased network intelligence is going to be a primary driver for efficient LTE roaming service delivery. Today, LTE roaming is in its infancy but it is network intelligence that will provide the quality and capabilities to help deliver a consistently good 4G roaming experience. The last thing travelers want to see on their holiday or business trip is the dreaded buffer face – an experience intolerable whether you’re on a beach, in a conference hall, or on your way to a meeting, and a phenomenon that 4G has boldly taken on as its mobile nemesis.

With all of this in mind, using big data to transform the roaming market brings benefits for consumers and mobile service providers. Delivering a tailored service gives service providers a competitive advantage, and consumers receive an enhanced experience.

The ability for mobile communications service providers to keep improving specific aspects of their service by analysing customer data means that customer demands are being heard and adhered to, a formula that equals a happy customer and a competitive service provider.

Stay tuned for my next post during Mobile World Congress (22-25 February) on borderless mobility. In the meantime, read John Hayduk’s recent post on the need for a global standards for the Internet of Things. And if you’re heading to Mobile World Congress, find us