4G roaming traffic originating in Asia Pacific to other regions grew 317 per cent over the last year, while globally 4G inter-regional roaming volumes surpassed non-LTE data roaming traffic earlier this year, hitting 54 per cent from 46 per cent in 2017, data released by Syniverse showed.

The growth was measured by analysing the year-on-year trends in roaming traffic on Syniverse’s global platform. Last year, LTE made up 26 per cent of the roaming traffic out of Asia Pacific, while in 2018 LTE accounted for 43 per cent of the traffic.

Syniverse’s analysis also revealed the majority (57 per cent) of roaming traffic exported from Asia Pacific in 2018 still runs on older network technologies, like 3G. This points to the need for mobile operators to focus on enhanced network capability before Asia Pacific can move forward with global rollouts of new technologies, like 5G, that will fuel the future of smart cities and IoT, the company said.

“Asia Pacific is a hotbed of innovation for 5G with trials already underway, but interconnectivity and roaming between countries and regions at the 4G LTE level will be critically important in driving 5G uptake at scale in this diverse region,” said Syniverse GM John Wick. “LTE is the preliminary technology foundation that the region needs to implement prior to achieving the smart city and IoT capability that 5G connectivity will enable with data speeds 100 times faster than are capable today with legacy technologies.”

The GSMA projects Asia Pacific will lead the world in IoT, with revenue reaching $386 billion by 2025. To fulfil this potential, Syniverse said the region needs to first lay the preliminary 4G connectivity foundation to ensure interoperability between 5G networks and other advanced services later.