Fickle Quality of Mobile Data Roaming – Operators Missing the Business Opportunity

Omnitele studied the current status of typical business user roaming experience in 10 different countries by reproducing some typical mobile data use cases: email, web browsing and video streaming. All together 17 operators were tested. In order to reflect true end-user experience, commercial off-the-shelf iPhone 5s smartphones were used. Typical benchmark studies focus on countries with high population, but for this study we wanted to analyse the customer experience in selected smaller countries where roaming is more important part of the mobile operator business case.

The results show that quality is far from consistent. For www browsing – indeed the most important use case – none of the operators provide expected quality. All together only 30% of tests (16/51) satisfy the defined customer experience targets (7/17 Email, 9/17 YouTube). Only one of the tested operators supported LTE roaming – yet it was the one scoring the best results considering the consistency over all test cases.

Looking at the rather high roaming data prices and the moderate customer experience of many of the tested operators, it is obvious why roamers are keen to rely on WiFi. Omnitele sees that operators are not capitalising on the business opportunity of mobile data roaming very well and actions on both pricing and quality are required.