According to a study by Juniper Research, the number of 5G roamers is set to surpass 200 million by 2026.
While much of life slowed to a crawl during the pandemic, the 5G rollout continued at pace. With the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, operators are now ramping up their deployments even further.
Juniper’s analysts predict an increase in the global number of 5G roamers from 4.5 million in 2021 to 210 million in 2026. As international travel cautiously begins to return, Juniper recommends that operators focus on increasing 5G roaming support to accommodate the future tidal wave of demand.
Scarlett Woodford, author of the 5G Roaming Strategies: Future Outlook, Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2021-2026 research, said:
“As demand for international travel returns, operators must adjust to the significant uptake of 5G subscriptions during the pandemic.
A failure to provide 5G roaming capabilities in key travel destinations will diminish brand reputation amongst subscribers and lead to churn to competitors.”
Roaming vendors are urged to develop 5G-enabled roaming features such as:
1. Roaming analytics
2. Sponsored roaming
3. Steering of roaming
4K video streaming is among the most in-demand uses of 5G data today. Roaming 5G data is predicted to increase from 2.6 PB in 2021 to 770 PB by 2026. To put in perspective, that represents enough data to stream 115 million hours of 4K video from platforms like Netflix.
Consumers will expect similar performance from 5G networks while roaming as they do at home. Novel agreements that cover 5G roaming will be required to facilitate such a consistent experience across borders.
The pandemic showed the world the importance of great connectivity. Some of the advancements made during the pandemic out of necessity – like remote/flexible working – are expected to stick around. Smart operators will be exploring how best to take advantage of such opportunities.
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