What Consumer Devices Will Drive the Roaming Market in 2023 & Beyond?

POSTED BY Rosie O'Connor

Juniper Research believes that the greatest source of disruption over the next five years for roaming vendors will be the increase in the number and types of devices that are roaming internationally.

In our latest retail roaming research, we predict that the number of consumer devices will grow globally post-COVID, as more users work from home. Whilst smartphones dominate the consumer device industry, the sales of laptops and tablets are growing at a similar rate to smartphones, while smartwatches are beginning to operate more similarly to smartphones than traditional activity trackers; meaning that users have an enhanced incentive to purchase the product for more effective and portable use in everyday activities.

As the number and type of devices utilised for roaming increasingly require a cellular connection, operators must find new ways of meeting consumer demand for cellular data without enhancing the risk of bill shock for subscribers.


Smartphones are the most ubiquitous consumer device, and are predicted to be the most disruptive device for roaming vendors on a global scale, by increasing the opportunity for roaming traffic.

Mobile subscribers benefit from utilising smartphones whilst travelling, particularly since the introduction of eSIMs, making roaming with smartphones cheaper and more efficient, saving subscribers large roaming costs.


Tablets are a progressively utilised device, often taking the place of laptops due to their affordability and portability. Tablets are a particularly important asset for students, commuters, travellers, and professionals who travel frequently for business. Additionally, tablets are more likely to be taken abroad in more affluent areas.

While tablets with a cellular connectivity can connect to the Internet almost anywhere, very few tablets offer this service and operate only when connected to Wi Fi. Nonetheless, roaming vendors need to cater for cellular tablets to ensure there is no bill shock for travellers utilising roaming services abroad.


Laptop sales have been decreasing since the introduction of tablets and smartphones, as consumers are able to carry out many computing tasks on more portable, affordable devices.

However, laptops are an indispensable device in business enterprises due to their power and storage space. Business laptops are necessary for use in productive tasks such as web marketing, online meetings, presentations and more.

Many laptops now have a port for SIM cards, which provides access to cellular networks such as 5G and backup whilst on the move.

As with tablets, Juniper Research suggests roaming vendors need to ensure data explored on laptops is monitored, to avoid any bill shock for subscribers. Additionally, vendors should enable enterprises to manage multiple devices from a centralised location.


Smartwatches have evolved to be one of the most popular and in-demand devices in the technology market; progressing from purely fitness trackers to offering smartphone-like services, such as sending and receiving texts, calls, listening to music and enabling contactless payments. The demand for smartwatches increased during lockdown, as people became more health concerned.

Whilst very few smartphones are cellular, many are still dependent on smartphones, as they take data from the smartphone via Bluetooth. This contributes to the overall data being produced when roaming. Therefore, operators need to take this into account when charging subscribers for data use to further prevent bill shock.

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Our complimentary whitepaper, Emerging Technologies Disrupting Roaming in 2023, assesses key disruptive technologies in the roaming market, and outlines how platforms can leverage them to differentiate their services from competitors.
“A new study from Juniper Research has found that the value of the retail roaming market will reach $19 billion by 2027 globally; a substantial increase from $10 billion in 2022. This growth of 98% in revenue will be driven by both an increase in the number of 5G roaming subscribers across key international travel corridors between North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, and data generated by these new 5G connections whilst roaming internationally.”
“Juniper Research’s latest Retail Roaming research provides a comprehensive assessment of the retail roaming market and travel mobility solutions. It includes strategic recommendations for roaming providers and network operators, as well as comprehensive 5-year forecasts for roaming traffic and revenue for operator revenue from roaming activities. In addition, it features a regional analysis and an evaluation of each of the operator solutions that comprise roaming services, including data, voice, and SMS.”