MNOs set to lose out on $25bn of roaming revenues, as Covid19 pandemic begins to bite

Published: 30 March 2020 - 8:48 a.m.

Mobile network operators around the world could miss out on up to $25 billion in roaming revenues over the next nine months, as international travel is grounded during the current Covid19 pandemic.

New research, published by Juniper Research, analysed two prospective outcomes for the Covid19 pandemic – one moderate impact and one high impact. Juniper Research did not forecast a low impact outlook, such is the severity of the current situation.
Juniper Research’s high impact scenario assumed that there will be reduced demand for international travel and regional travel bans for the next nine months.

In this high impact scenario, Juniper Research estimates that over 650 million passenger trips will be cancelled over the next 9 months – 80 per cent of all air travel forecast for the period.

The research assumes that over half of all roaming revenue for the year will be affected, amounting to $25 billion in lost revenue.

The June-August period, which usually sees tens of millions of Europeans take their summer holidays, is expected to be a particularly difficult period, with operators set to miss out on around $12 billion of roaming revenues in that 12 month period alone.

Fortunately, from an operators’ point of view, roaming revenues typically only make up around 6 per cent of a telcos projected yearly revenues.

Despite this sliver of consolation, the report suggests that operators will have no ability to mitigate the loss of roaming revenues, given the ubiquitous nature of the pandemic.

“Given the nature of the international travel industry, the research anticipated there will be no strategies available to operators to mitigate this loss. It forecast that services, such as virtual conferencing, will offer businesses an alternative to international travel, but will offer no benefit to operators,” the report read.

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