Industry Thought Leadership

Traveling without Connectivity

March, 2023
Douwe van der Heij
Senior Director Marketing


Revenue opportunities from better subscriber experience

Air travel has recovered, reaching pre-pandemic levels for many global destinations, resulting in network operators upgrading their network capacity and benefiting from inbound roaming revenues again.

But how does that relate to your subscribers? Are they traveling again, and if so, do they leave their home country prepared when it comes to their cellular plan?

Do your subscribers activate roaming services before they leave the country?
As international travel increases, wholesale roaming traffic is on the rise. But inexperienced international travelers may leave the country unprepared for their communications needs. It’s challenging to predict and anticipate when your customers will need roaming services. So, how do you respond when a subscriber has left your network and it’s already too late?

If pre-activation of roaming services is required for your customer to roam, some travelers will risk not having access to roaming services upon arrival. If your customer has not met the pre-requisites that would allow them to roam, their phones won’t be able to register on any foreign network. This poses a real problem. You, as the home operator, have no direct way to call your customer or reach out to them via SMS. Without roaming services, your customers will look for alternatives, such as purchasing a local SIM card.

This is a missed roaming revenue opportunity for you as their home operator. To make matters worse, there is also a loyalty risk when a frustrated subscriber takes the poor customer experience back home! Without cellular service, most travelers will look for Wi-Fi—at the airport, in a hotel, or wherever they find connectivity first. Is it too little, too late to reach out to them once they have found Wi-Fi and enjoy connectivity? The simple answer is “No”.

As opposed to Wi-Fi, Mobile Networks can satisfy the need for true mobile connectivity. Think of the need for GPS navigation applications or car-ride services when traveling; booking hotels on-the-go; or live sharing their moments on video with people back home as travelers visit the wonders of the world. For travelers, there is nothing better than cellular connectivity!

So, for a traveler who hadn’t requested the roaming service prior to leaving the country, how do you turn a potentially poor customer experience due to lack of connectivity, into an opportunity for customer service excellence and operator revenue?

Network registration error messages will tell you that there is a connectivity problem for subscribers. It is possible for you to identify your subscribers who can’t connect to mobile networks abroad and fix the issue for them quickly!

As said, most likely the subscriber will first look for alternative connectivity, and as soon as that subscriber connects to Wi-Fi, you can reach out through over-the-top applications (OTT) and initiate the process of getting roaming services activated. WhatsApp, for example, with more than two billion people using the platform around the world, gives you the power to reconnect with your subscribers with a simple message acknowledging awareness of the issue and offering a solution. That’s the start of a customer journey that turns a bad experience into a positive one, leveraging the Wi-Fi connection and using the rich communication methods that OTT services offer.

These few simple steps can help.
1- Explain the situation and offer a solution – Understanding.
2- Provide transparency to cost of roaming – Confidence.
3- Let the subscriber choose a data roaming pack – Convenience.
4- Activate roaming services – Enjoyment.
5- Provide control over data consumption – Trust.

Now you have turned a traveler’s connectivity issue into a moment of customer experience excellence! A once invisible and unactionable subscriber issue can be converted into a new revenue opportunity for mobile operators.

Are you curious to understand the extent of this problem further, so that you can get ahead of any issues that may trouble your subscriber base and build a better roaming experience? If so, I invite you to contact Syniverse to learn more about how Syniverse can provide you with insights and an end-to-end cloud-based solution that seamlessly integrates with your network.