On 13 February Japanese and Australian representatives discussed roaming rates between the two countries in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The discussions took place during the first of several Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Policy Dialogues between the countries. The meeting addressed the facts that thousands of people travel between Japan and Australia every year and that there would be substantial benefits from providing transparent and reasonable international roaming rates to these tourists and business travelers. The two countries’ representatives will explore ways to lower mobile roaming costs between them, with a focus on data.
In addition to the EU’s plan of abolishing roaming fees by 15 December 2015, we have also written about other global regions in which countries have struck agreements to reduce roaming costs for customers traveling between them. For example, the launch of One Area Network by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda on 1 January 2015 drastically reduced roaming for customers calling across the borders in these countries. The East African decrease was intended to help stimulate growth in the telecom sector, as the previous roaming charges were beyond the reach of many people living in those countries.
Any roaming agreement that could potentially be put into place between Japan and Australia, particularly during the 2020 Olympics, will have a positive impact not only on subscribers but on operators, as well, since the lowering of roaming rates will most likely result in increased phone use by customers. Spectators at global sporting events such at the Olympics are very likely to post on social media so operators will drive revenue with reasonably priced data roaming packages. Japan’s overall economy is also likely to benefit because lower roaming rates could result in travelers having more money to spend while in the country. These latest talks between Japan and Australia give us more reason to believe that roaming charges will be reduced or eliminated in both developed and emerging regions throughout the globe.