Hidden expenses of uncontrolled customer roaming cost operators millions
Recently, Starhome Mach analysed mobile network operator (MNO) roaming business activities to reveal areas of significant losses simply due to inappropriate management of traffic steering. Active steering of subscribers can increase revenue and significantly decrease losses.
As Guy Reiffer of Starhome Mach writes, steering of roaming is critical to protect revenues, reduce costs, and ensure that both MNOs and MVNOs (mobile virtual network operator) maintain complete control of their roamers at all times.
To allow subscribers to roam, operators must have roaming agreements in place with networks in all visited countries. They must also negotiate the best wholesale tariffs and have the ability to support these tariffs with their business strategies.
Steering tools automatically select the appropriate visited network based on each roamer’s profile and usage. This lets operators control their costs and quality of service (QoS) to meet their business goals, such as steering high data users to networks with the lowest data costs, or steering LTE users to LTE networks to achieve the highest quality of service and customer satisfaction.
Achieving the highest steering accuracy possible ensures operators are better able to maximise network resources and costs. Starhome Mach’s field data shows that its customers are averaging 93% accuracy, with some reaching close to 100% accuracy in steering results.
Even within their own countries, not all operators provide universal coverage. Under national roaming, operators maintain quality of service and connectivity for their subscribers by handing them off to other networks in low-coverage areas.
The issue that significantly affects revenues is how efficiently the operator can prevent national roaming when coverage is available. With optimised national roaming, subscribers are redirected to the home network at the first opportunity, saving on unnecessary payments to other national operators.
Starhome Mach’s experience shows that operators are successfully preventing national roaming in at least 32% of the cases daily by steering subscribers back to their network as soon as possible. Considering these national roaming costs can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars per day, the savings are substantial.
When subscribers are near the international borders of their home country, they may suddenly find themselves connected to a network across the border whose signal may be closer or stronger, resulting in accidental border roaming.
Usually the subscribers are not aware they are roaming, and operators cannot bill them for the roaming charges accrued. Without appropriate steering of roaming tools to manage border roaming, operators can incur serious financial losses while damaging customer relationships due to potential quality of service issues.
Starhome Mach recently analysed border roaming on busy borders among its customers and found that an average of 81% of accidental border roaming sessions were prevented, with many operators reaching over 90%.
Roaming should be considered an added revenue stream to the mobile network operators’ bottom line. Without adding the steering component, operators are losing considerable revenue.
The author of this blog is Guy Reiffer, VP Marketing and Partnerships at Starhome Mach.
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