Monday, 23 January 2012

Mobile Roaming Conference Chair's Digest 2011

Mobile Roaming 2011 Digest

The Mobile Roaming Conference was also a great event, and a very successful one too, with a packed schedule of presentations, and a great story built as the presentations moved through the day: starting with the issues, then following with some great case studies and then other strategies for maximising roaming revenue, and making roaming as efficient as possible, from centralising roaming to hubbing to wholesale as part of the roaming strategy... To boot the Hotel was great and the bar proved popular afterwards... so I hear, anyway :)

Roamaing Conference Overview

For those of you who just want the low down, in a few bullets:
  • It may be no surprise that volume is increasing as margins are decreasing...
  • Data is growing, VAS is growing, voice and SMS is shrinking, just like retail
  • Roaming and Wholesale are merging
  • We had a great presentation and case study on roaming segmentation which saw a 35% increase in usage, 21% increase in revenue and 13% increase in margin
  • EC Roaming regulations require huge amounts of caffeine to sit through... more below
  • The IPX is central to CDMA but not yet GSM VAS
  • Centralised group roaming departments are doing more group level agreements in a month that they previously did on a country level in a year!

Roaming Conference Presentations:

Here are the bullet point “highlights”:
  • As volumes increase but margins decrease things have to change: centralisation, segmentation, more attention to settlement, centralised negotiations by group volume and hubbing...
  • The bilateral "spaghetti" model is moving to a more centralised, hubbed "cannelloni" model (yes that second analogy was used).
  • Downsizing can just be migrating of smaller routes...
  • Data is growing and some interesting VAS were emerging, such a service specific, i.e. Facebook and Twitter daily bundles for example...
  • Data is still nowhere near as high as it should be as many just turn data roaming off as the smartphone takes grip, even so it is the growing trend: engaging the "sleeper roamer"! 
  • 40% of travellers do not roam at all...
  • Thank you messages work... why just AoC roaming welcome messages
  • There were a couple of differing views on the EC roaming regulation, especially round the single IMSI, single IMSI breakout or dual IMSI approach... to be honest it is quite clear to me who will go which way (MNOs, MVNOs and hubs), but there is plenty to debate here.
  • An interesting point of view was the fact that the breakout model will just drive global revenues to silicon valley, i.e. the Google mobile revenue fund and the Apple mobile revenue share fund
  • There is an inbound vs outbound and how bundles should or could make their way from retail into wholesale. We already see it (and very successful!) with some MNOs and MVNOs (we have enabled a few services via the Roaming Welcome message AoC so can see).
  • 15% of roaming traffic from one operator was identified as "honey moon" traffic... let's hope it was to elate on happiness and not seek council...
  • hubbing not only sees synergies in efficiency, but also revenue assurance!
  • MVNOs will drive hub adoption, especially with two month compliance for roaming access in EU roaming regulations
  • An analogy was likening the Roaming market to an aviation analogy: air miles, code sharing and alliances are the way forward... there is something in it, though I am not expecting a movie with George Clooney about mobile roaming points anytime soon...
  • Airline similarities continue obviously as roaming revenues track airline travel increase... and airline traffic is still growing
  • Wholesale is seen a key way to attract the 40% who do not roam at all as well as other "sleeper revenue", VAS is seen as way to get both wholesale and own roaming revenues up, the latter also cannot argue with the stats on segmentation (the former segments itself generally).