The figures published here represent the revenues of Swiss roaming providers, which were billed per unit (and not generated by a bundled product). Providers state that they are unable to break down revenues from products including roaming to each individual service. The published figures therefore represent only part of the revenue attributable to roaming.
Sales of Swiss providers of international roaming services in 2020
Data traffic accounts for the largest share of international roaming revenues (around 68% in 2020), and this is steadily increasing. Data roaming revenues also follow a steady upward trend in absolute terms. In 2020, however, data roaming revenues decreased by 12% probably as a consequence of the pandemic. Revenues in the first quarter were higher than in the previous year and then dropped in the second quarter by 49% (first wave of Covid-19). Revenues were stable in the third quarter compared to 2019, but fell again in the fourth quarter (second wave of Covid-19).
Voice roaming revenues have also fallen significantly, confirming the decline in minute volumes. The trend has been downwards for years, and the 2020 pandemic has amplified this effect considerably by restricting international travel. However, given the increase in data consumption, the decline in voice calls can also be explained by technological substitution: as customers became familiar with over-the-top services such as Whatsapp, Skype, Zoom, etc. during the lockdown, they preferred data to calls when they were able to go abroad again.
Regarding SMS, the volumes sent continue to decline. Revenues from these short messages are therefore constantly decreasing. They have almost cut in half between 2019 and 2020, probably for the same reasons as voice roaming calls.
Overall, revenues from individual roaming services have been declining over the past 10 years. Although there was a rebound from 2018, revenues fell again (-20%) in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. The sanitary crisis has led to a decrease in international travel and therefore in roaming needs. Only data consumption increased, but not enough to compensate for the loss of revenue.
As mentioned above, revenues from subscriptions that include roaming are not taken into account in this study, even though the volumes generated by such subscriptions represent the largest share of international roaming calls/data/SMS since 2015 (84% in 2020). The observed decline in revenues therefore only concerns one narrow part of the roaming market for Swiss consumers.
Last modification 03.08.2021