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Website Story Image Blog To Roam Or Not To Roam

To roam or not to roam

An AMS-IX Story

Erik Verhoef

Erik Verhoef

Interconnection Manager


It almost seems a lifetime ago when going on holiday in Europe also meant that you had to pray for decent Wi-Fi at your hotel as you disabled roaming on your smartphone in order to avoid a ‘bill shock’. But it is only since June last year that this fundamentally changed when new EU legislation resulted in the end of roaming charges in the EU. At AMS-IX, a large part of this pan-European mobile roaming data goes over a Mobile Peering platform we call the Inter-IPX. In 2017, we saw traffic levels explode, and now again we see the amount of mobile data exchanged over our platform almost doubled compared to the previous summer.

Looking back, Thursday 15 June 2017 was an important day and a major milestone for mobile internet consumers in the European Union. Today, one year later, we see the practical benefits for consumers, as they use their data bundle whilst traveling in Europe. For many it is becoming a habit.

A recent survey from Eurobarometer indicated that 82% of people who travelled to another EU country benefitted from the new rules. The survey also shows a change in travellers mobile phone use. Respondents are less likely to restrict their mobile use while travelling (e.g. by switching off the phone or data roaming). The amount of travellers who used their mobile data while roaming as often as at home has increased from 26% (2016) to 34% in 2017. It’s evident that mobile internet consumption whilst travelling in the EU has gone up and will continue to increase in the years to come.

At AMS-IX this trend is also visible at our mobile peering platform. On top of our Internet Exchange, we also operate a fit-for-purpose engineered mobile peering exchange where IPX providers can exchange mobile roaming data with each other for their customers, which are mobile network operators (MNO’s). At our AMS-IX Mobile Peering platform or Inter-IPX platform we see this consumer behaviour has a positive impact on our traffic levels.

In July 2018, we saw a peak of 146 Gbps at our Mobile Peering platform. This is nearly double the traffic levels of 82 Gbps recorded during last years’ summer. If we compare those numbers with 2016, the growth is even more spectacular as it peaked around 28 Gbps. Also, a fun fact to mention is that during the FIFA World Cup we saw a peak of additional mobile traffic during the matches, meaning that most probably football fans who were on holiday abroad in the EU were streaming the matches and didn’t have to miss one minute of the game!

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