The wholesale LTE data roaming tsunami is upon us!

By Isabelle Paradis, President
October 2014

New and original global telecoms interconnect service model forecasts that Wholesale data roaming traffic is to grow by a CAGR of 96.5% over the next 5 years

In a new and unique global model of the market for international interconnect services ‘The Future of International Wholesale’ – HOT TELECOM is forecasting that the advent of LTE and its multi-media applications, coupled with the more attractively priced roaming packages offered by mobile operators around the world will mean that mobile data roaming traffic will double every year over the next 5 years to reach 113 PB. And a large portion of this growth will be generated by LTE data roaming traffic, although 3G traffic will also grow.

LTE is already enabling many bandwidth hungry multimedia mobile applications, which should then stimulate the demand for mobile data roaming traffic as customers continue to expect the same performance and capabilities when abroad. Nonetheless, LTE data roaming is in its infancy, as mobile operators’ main focus to date was to launch the service within their national networks. Once this has taken place, they will increasingly turn their focus on ensuring this high quality service is seamlessly offered to their customers while roaming.

International roaming enablers therefore have a lot to gain and a critical role to play in the success of LTE data roaming by enabling sustained quality, security and network scalability to handle the growth. For that reason it is crucial that they develop the necessary IPX platform, to support this evolving need and jump onto the data bandwagon. Wholesalers who are only focussing on voice services will miss a large traffic and revenue opportunity, as we are increasingly moving towards the era of Everything Data.

We have seen a few announcements of LTE roaming agreements starting in early 2014, and this is set to accelerate through the year and well into 2015. LTE data roaming traffic is therefore forecasted to more than triple in 2014, and by the end of 2018, we expect for LTE data roaming to account for 39.1% of the world’s total data roaming traffic.

But voice wholesalers should not despair, International Wholesale Voice is not dead and there are significant signs of life for the coming years. In fact, the forecast shows that there will continue to be a growth in the volumes and revenue of voice calls carried through wholesalers for the coming five years and we expect for around 80% of the total International traffic to be transported over wholesale by the end of 2018. This growth will be mainly due to the migration of mobile operators’ voice traffic to IPX, which gives mobile operators a real driver to move their international traffic away from the traditional path to an IPX based wholesaler. We also see that more carriers will drop their bilateral links and rely more on the skills and buying power of the larger international carriers.

These are among the findings in this first comprehensive report on the overall market for international interconnect services that includes global and regional forecasts for voice, messaging and support for roaming in the voice, data and messaging areas. The report, based on many years of collecting data about subscriber growth in fixed and mobile networks around the world, coupled with interviews and analysis of the business includes detailed forecasts and structured discussion of the trends and drivers in each of the service areas.

‘We felt that the industry was missing a comprehensive forecast to cover the next five years – a period which will be marked by significant changes due to technology, customer behavior and regulatory action.’ said Isabelle Paradis, President at HOT TELECOM. ‘With the massive rollout of LTE networks, the evolution to IP communications and pressure on roaming prices and basic termination rates, the time was right to build a bottom up model of this important industry segment.’

The report is available for immediate purchase at You can also access a range of IPX reports from HOT TELECOM at:

For more information on this report, please contact Isabelle Paradis at: or +1 514 270 1636