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The Asia-Pacific region has seen a threefold increase in LTE roaming traffic in 2017, according to the latest figures of BICS. At the beginning of 2018, the top destination for outgoing roamers from Asia-Pacific using LTE services was Europe. The generated outbound LTE roaming traffic reached around 54%.

Malcom Chan, BICS’s managing director for Asia-Pacific, explained, “Subscribers now expect high quality, affordable roaming services, whether they’re travelling inside or outside of Europe. With Europe accounting for such a significant portion of Asia’s roaming traffic, overtaking the Middle East, it’s clear that the impact of the legislation is being felt on a global scale.”

The fast increase of European LTE roaming traffic was due mostly to the “Roam Like At Home” regulation announced by the European Union on wholesale roaming charges. In consequence, tourists and business travelers visiting Asia from Europe accounted for the highest number of inbound roamers reaching 57%.

BICS figures show that China leads Asian growth accounting for 40.2% of global LTE connections with 1 billion 4G connections. However, other countries in the Asia-Pacific region are witnessing an accelerated migration to 4G, such as Australia, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and India.

“Contrary to established belief, Asian consumers no longer want to switch off their phones or buy local SIM cards when travelling overseas,” said Chan.

The GSMA forecasts that mobile data growth will be the main driver of future revenues and investments in the region.


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