The European telecommunications market is entering a period of huge adjustment, fuelled by the needs of businesses increasingly operating across global markets, and by the pressure asserted by upcoming EU legislative changes that are designed to reduce the cost of international data roaming for users. Although a really positive step for the mobile industry, this legislation won’t come into force until December 2015 – and if businesses are to make the most of unprecedented international opportunities they need change now.

Until now, businesses who operate internationally – whether through extensive executive travel, overseas employees, suppliers or partners – have often felt the need to either switch off mobile data roaming and international calling to save money, or bear the burden of high costs and still endure poor data and call quality. Both reduce activity and productivity when operating globally, even when exorbitant data roaming is switched on abroad, the level of connectivity and speed employees have on mobile devices is low.

Too often this poor service affects the behaviour of employees, and disconnects them from the community and business decisions being made around them. Last year we saw data consumption for some customers increase by over five times, and the telecoms market must react to accommodate this huge increase in the data being transferred from mobile devices rather than forcing businesses to accept huge costs or stop transferring data.

Some mobile operators are already starting to adjust data roaming charges in preparation for the EU regulation being announced in July, but there remains a major delay in sweeping changes coming into place. The EU regulation to reduce mobile roaming charges also only covers 28 countries – this omits a huge number of key business centres. For business users, the pace of change and market realignment is limited and frustratingly slow.

The changes to bring down international mobile costs are certainly positive, but represent a small step for an industry being forced by regulation. As mobile operators start to adjust their services for international businesses, the battleground for mobility managers and employees will soon shift to quality not cost. Traditional networks simply weren’t built to serve customers outside a single territory, and will have to innovate fast.

Businesses need:

  • Predictability and control over costs when using a mobile phone internationally.
  • Faster data speeds and high quality calling from anywhere in the world.
  • To eliminate hassle of handsets, SIMs and numbers involved with international travel.
  • To take economic advantage of the borderless, always on business environment.

An evolution in international telecommunications will have important consequences for multinational companies when it comes to cost management and mobile service quality, but also to productivity and business growth. Business opportunity should be based not on where you are in the world, but on where you want to be – all made possible by an effective, open global communication zone.