Juniper Research has valued operator revenues generated from mobile data roaming at $42 billion (£27 million) by 2018 - representing 47 percent of global mobile roaming revenue - including voice calls.
This share of total roaming revenues for mobile data roaming compares to an estimated 36 percent in 2013.
Juniper says increased roaming data revenues will be driven by operator migration towards 4G networks, inducing consumers to take advantage of faster broadband networks, while reductions in roaming charges will spur more frequent and heavier usage.
A Juniper report says that in order to achieve the full potential of 4G roaming, "successful business models towards end-users and between operators are needed".
It says roaming agreements for 4G are at initial stages and that operators are currently looking to partner with tier one telecoms operators in developing the right wholesale model.
Juniper report author Nitin Bhas said: "Operators need to sort out the right economics to encourage more usage at a value to the end users in order to avoid revenue erosion. They need to provide services that are both relevant and cost effective to 4G roamers."
The report points out however that if the proposal to end roaming charges in the EU gets European Parliament approval, this would significantly impact on roaming revenue levels.
Under this scenario, the report forecasts that European voice, SMS and data revenues would decline by just over 20 percent in 2016. However, the actual global volume of usage and number of active roamers will continue to rise over the forecast period, said Juniper.
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