So-called “transient roamers” – “those who seek alternatives to traditional mobile roaming” – make up a substantial and fast growing slice of the mobile ecosystem, according to a new study from WiFi interoperability solutions provider Syniverse.

The number of transient roamers “willing to go to great lengths for connectivity when they leave home beyond those options enabled by their home mobile service providers” is sizable and growing exponentially, according to Syniverse president and CEO Jeff Gordon. “This segment provides an opportunity for the myriad of mobile service providers to enable seamless connectivity across the ecosystem, managing end-user experiences in real time and solidifying each provider’s place in the value chain,” Gordon was quoted in a press release.

Basing its study on its own and third-party data and analysis, Syniverse estimates the size of the transient roamer market at more than $17 billion.

Drilling down deeper into spending by transient roamers in 2012, Syniverse concludes that:

  • Mobile roamers spent the most on hotel Wi-Fi – $8.7 billion – to meet their connectivity needs
  • Outside of the hotel, an additional $3.9 billion was spent purchasing access to other paid Wi-Fi hotspots while an estimated $225 million was spent on in-flight Wi-Fi
  • The purchase of local SIM cards was another popular alternative with $4.8 billion going toward voice, text and data charges as well as rental fees for SIM cards purchased in visited networks

“Mobile service providers of all types should see opportunity in these numbers,” commented Iain Gillott, president of wireless industry market research consultants iGR.

“For established and new providers, it means solidifying their position in the roaming value chain while focusing on new ways to enable valuable connectivity. Ultimately, this type of innovative, consumer-focused ecosystem drives mobile usage and must be cultivated by interworking between a range of mobile service providers. To succeed, mobile service providers need to be backed by capabilities to eliminate complexity and manage end-user experiences in real time.”


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