Industry Thought Leadership

Changing Connectivity Requirements in Roaming Requires the Operators' Attention

July, 2023
Dany Rahal
Sales Executive Director


Travel and tourism are back. The latest statistics provided by the United Nations World Tourism Organization in its “World Travel Barometer” leave no doubt about it.

In fact, the Middle East is leading the pack by being the first region that has shown travel statistics in 2023 surpassing those of 2019 (pre-pandemic).

I work for Syniverse, a company that plays an instrumental role in accelerating the intelligently connected world, no matter whether it concerns humans, or devices. Travel and cross border communication are interwoven. Syniverse sits at the heart of it all and unsurprisingly, I tend to observe travel behavior and opportunities to improve the user experience in roaming.

Recently, I traveled for work from the UAE to Kenya.  I continue to be impressed with the activity and overall vibe at the airports. Thousands of people, all eager to make their way from points A to B, had more than one thing in common (and I invite you to make this observation yourself on your next trip): What item, beyond a suitcase, does every traveler bring along?

Mobile devices.
Travelers have the desire to be continuously connected and mobile communications goes beyond calling and messaging. Roamers want to experience digital and mobile, just like at home. I’ll name a few familiar observations on the airport:

  • The paper boarding pass has long ago become an app-based bar code. Without connectivity, the code may not show up.
  • Paperbacks and magazines from the kiosk have found their way to tablets and smartphones. Endless access to (streaming) content on devices helps people through those dull moments at airports and elsewhere.
  • Calling and messaging home has been enhanced with photos and video calls and people are using it.

If you imagine what else is going on in airplanes and at an airport, you can quickly conclude that we’re living in an increasingly intelligently connected world:

  • Luggage tracking devices.
  • In-flight connectivity for passengers.
  • Connected watches.

Just to name a few.

Managing roaming expectations
When I traveled to Kenya, I left the UAE with a 5G signal icon on the display of my phone, and somehow, as an end user, I expected to see that 5G icon in Nairobi, which I got. In large parts of the city 5G coverage is available, as announced on billboards. Even in places where the signal fell back to 4G+ networks in Kenya I quite enjoyed on the quality-of-service experience. I could do what I wanted to do on my devices, and I never felt that my service had degraded. Besides the excellent “guest” networks in Kenya itself, a key element for this quality-of-service experience is the home routed internet connection in roaming over the IPX network back to the UAE (an IPX is a private network and delivers secure internet connectivity for roaming).

So, why do Changing connectivity requirements in roaming require the operator's attention? Let me split this in three parts, to segregate between humans, devices, and new network deployments:

  • For travelers. From a traveler's perspective the roaming service is expected to work and perform. Always and everywhere. Moreover, the user's expectation is to receive equal experience as at home. Unlimited data, maximum speed and at a reasonable price. Is that possible? It is to a large extent, and operators are increasingly meeting the customer’s expectations. With the exponential growth in travel though, it is important that operators augment their capacity, such as that of the IPX and that they choose an IPX that can scale them up to the requirements for 5G roaming. You can think of Quality of Service, latency, bandwidth, and security.   
  • For the Internet of Things. Delivering on the promises of 5G and IoT requires scaling up of wholesale activities. Poor performance or even outages in roaming can interrupt the use cases behind Internet of Things. Understanding which devices roam on the network and how they behave is critical. Once that is understood, an operator can adequately start to support wholesale partners operationally and commercially. There is an absolute need to abandon manual processes in favor of maximum automation. This goes hand in hand with the streamlining of processes in operations and reduction or complete elimination of inter-operator disputes. 
  • Private 5G networks. Rapidly popping up across the globe and full of potential, private 5G networks are making their way into more places than just airports. Private Wireless solutions require a multitude of functionalities targeted at delivering valuable network connectivity, including cellular access between private and public mobile networks; extended visibility and control of connected devices; and facilitation of additional connectivity models. I’m excited about this and our patented Automated Network Reselection (ANR) technology, which allows for seamless movement and connectivity between private and public networks.

Anticipate, scale, and grow
Being part of this innovative and impactful telecommunication industry is truly exciting. I hope my observations give you food for thought, as to some of the endless possibilities and use cases provided by mobile roaming and how changing user expectations can be met. Roaming plays a critical role in keeping the world connected today, and failure is not an option. The telecommunications industry has the momentum to continue to grow through successful implementation of new use cases and expectations. I am ready to help operators deliver on the promise of accelerating an intelligently connected world.

About Syniverse
Syniverse is the world's most connected company. We seamlessly connect the world's networks, devices, and people so the world can unlock the full power of communications.
Our secure, global technology powers the world's leading carriers, top Forbes Global 2000 companies, and billions of people, devices, and transactions every day. Our engagement platform delivers better, smarter experiences that strengthen relationships between businesses, customers, and employees.
For over 30 years, we have accelerated important advances in communications technology. Today we are an essential driver of the world's adoption of intelligent connectivity, from 5G and CPaaS to IoT and beyond. Find out more at

About Dany Rahal: (bio suggestion: Dany Rahal is a Sales Executive Director at Syniverse, serving the MEA region. Throughout his career Dany has lived and worked in a variety of countries. Dany has always been at the heart of the telecommunications industry, enabling growth, efficiency, and success for communications service providers. Some of his previous employers are Nokia, Siemens, and RedKnee.)