Roaming users on 5G networks will reach 147m by 2025

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A new study from UK-based insight company Juniper Research has predicted that advances in networking technology will kickstart a global increase in 5G mobile roaming, with numbers sky-rocketing by a factor of 34 in less than five years.

As things stand, the underlying networking technology can make it difficult to seamlessly shift between networks and use cases, but this is set to change, as software-defined networking and mobile edge computing (MEC) provides operators with a new set of tools to enable frictionless roaming.

“Current non-standalone 5G architectures, which leverage the same core network technologies as 4G, will not be sufficient in aiding operators to launch cost-effective international roaming services over 5G networks,” the Juniper report revealed.

Software defined networks

The report explains how the availability of software-defined network applications in standalone 5G networks will create “greater efficiencies in routing of voice and data roaming traffic, thus reducing operators’ investment needed to offer 5G roaming services”.

The Juniper research explains that operators should bypass the creation of non-standalone 5G roaming agreements, and focus on basing 5G roaming agreements on standalone architecture immediately. 

“Given that roaming agreements can take between 12 and 18 months to be established, operators must focus on standalone 5G roaming agreements now."

Scarlett Woodford, Juniper Research.

“The current decrease in international roaming traffic must not be used as a reason to neglect future roaming activities,” said the research author Scarlett Woodford. “Given that roaming agreements can take between 12 and 18 months to be established, operators must focus on standalone 5G roaming agreements now, in preparation for the recovery of the market.”

Mobile roaming will increase by 3,300%

The report from Juniper Research, titled ‘Mobile Roaming: Emerging Opportunities, Regional Analysis & Market Forecasts 2021-2025’, found that the number of international 5G roaming subscribers will reach 147 million by 2025, up from just 4.3 million in 2021. 

“This represents a growth of 3,300% over the next four years,” according to Juniper Research. “[Our report] predicts that standalone 5G architectures, which leverage innovative core network technologies and high levels of virtualisation, will be instrumental in allowing operators to create appealing 5G roaming packages for this growing number of subscribers.”

Dan Oliver

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.