Operators must cut reliance on data roaming

Telcos looking at various ways to shore up their fading subscription business models with new revenue streams should use them to decrease dependence on the "fraud" of data roaming revenues, an industry executive said.

A panel of operator CEOs at the CommunicAsia2012 Summit spent time discussing various models they were exploring, but Packet One Networks CEO Michael Lai said that as operators generate new revenues, they should use the opportunity to stop relying on inflated roaming charges as a dependable cash cow.
 
 "Data roaming is a form of fraud," Lai said. "No one wants to pay ten times more to use the same services when they're overseas."
 
 Lai insisted there was more money in new opportunities such as M2M services than from data roaming. "We need to look at new ways to make that money, not from data roaming."
  
On the same panel, asked about emerging business model opportunities, Ahmad Azhar, CEO of Telekom Malaysia subsidiary VADS, said policy control and rating based on the type of traffic going through the network "is one thing that we think will play a bigger role" as well as revenue-sharing models.
 
Idris Vasi, CEO of Brunei operator DST, named m-commerce as a major opportunity, particularly for telcos that look beyond obvious apps like international remittance payments and online purchases.
  
"A lot of operators are looking at that to some degree or other," he said. "In Brunei, we're working with the Department Of Electrical Services for prepaid meters where you can do top-ups. We can provide these services to utilities and government ministries."

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