Call for Roaming Managers to unite!

The End of the Roaming Season … Long Live Roaming!

An article by Dhiraj Wazir, CEO ROCCO STRATEGY

Who would have thought that an entity which exists somewhere between the realms of living and non-living (it doesn’t even have a DNA), so small that you can’t even see it through a microscope, could potentially shut the world down. Ok, maybe some Hollywood folks did imagine and made loads of money from it … but roaming managers, I wouldn’t think so.

In Europe we now fondly remember and almost miss the panic of the summer of 2017, when RLAH regulation saw traffic punch a hole through the roof. It was like being in a WW2 submarine, the captain shouting to go well below depths the submarine was designed for. I could have sworn I could hear the IPX pipes creaking about to explode … and if that wasn’t nerve wrecking enough, we also had valves in the steering tool bursting to pop out, threatening to sink the ship. If your memory needs to be jogged, here’s a small video clip from those now seemingly wonderful times:

Instead of being of some help, one of my colleagues thought this was precisely the right time to change the ring tone on her phone to the “ping of the submarine” !! Juxtapose that with today; I almost feel like giving one’s right arm in return for the panic of 2017 would be a deal even Mr. Trump would say was better than what he could’ve negotiated.

We hear stories coming out from Italy, of people singing together from their balconies or from Spain of people clapping in unison to thank the medical services. The question that looms ahead of us though is: as a community what do we do? how do we stand together?

In the past when the industry has faced such challenges, the answer has always been to do more, increase capacity, waive retail charges, drop prices. But this, this is truly unprecedented, with roaming falling off the cliff and reports of traffic down turn in the region of 85% already … how do we do more when less is required?

Over the last few years our addiction to traffic increases made a crack cocaine addict look in complete control, so when the retail traffic just vanishes how do we deal with the wholesale promises we made?

If not change, surely this is the time to suspend our current wholesale model. Which, over the last few years seems to have evolved to being high “AA 14” prices and low discounted rates, and lots of security with big fat “send or pay commitments”.

But if the medical experts are right, this is not going to go away in a hurry, we’ll be dealing with this for at least a few months, perhaps seeing a peak in the summer and then the possibility of a return in the winter.

This is not the time to bury our heads in the sand, but rise up and look at ways to support each other.

Here are a few suggestions:

1)    Offer a grace period to your roaming partners to meet their commitments.

2)    Reduce your commitments in line with traffic downturn from HPMN country to your country. (ROCCO will be working with all major DCH’s to provide this intelligence.)

3)    For contracts not yet signed, ensure there’s an appropriate force majeure clause which also deals with commitments.

4)    In certain instances, you may replace the SoP commitment of volume or revenue with market share. (however, we would recommend this in very rare cases).

Our governments may be implementing distancing policies, and it is precisely for that reason that as a community we need to come together, not physically of course but in thought and spirit to stand by each other, so that one day soon we can start making the world a smaller place through roaming again.

Do please feel to contribute with further ideas on how the roaming community can support each other, or if would’d like ROCCO to assist you please write into us at