case study:
bridge alliance
Bridge Alliance is a leading mobile alliance with 34 member operators which serve over a billion customers across Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.  We sat down with Senior vice President of Roaming & Products, Boon Chee Loo to discuss their approach on IoT roaming and the impact of travel eSIM on roaming.

Hi Boon Chee! Could you please give us an introduction to Bridge Alliance and how you work with your operator members? 

Bridge Alliance provides a platform that facilitates the exchange of ideas, innovation and technology among our member operators, so they shorten their learning curves.  We also form different workgroups among members, such as roaming, for business managers and experts to interact and spearhead regional innovations and initiatives.

Roaming is one of our many key focus areas in addition to 5G, IoT, CPaaS, Group Sourcing and Telco APIs.  It goes way back to 2004, when we were first established to ensure seamless roaming experiences for the customers of our member operators.  Specifically in the area of roaming, we work closely with our core Bridge member operators (‘BMOs’), leveraging their collective scale to engage strategic wholesale roaming partners as well as looking at various ways in providing innovative and/or differentiated roaming experiences to travellers.

What key opportunities and actions should operators focus on to harness IoT roaming? 

Developing a well-defined strategy for capitalising on IoT Roaming is essential due to the diverse range of use cases involved. It is critical to establish an approach to maximise and optimise revenues for each use case. Equally important is the availability of suitable tools and systems for monitoring and comprehending inbound IoT Roaming usage patterns, as well as for seamless billing and settlement processes.

This becomes particularly important as we see the demand for IoT roaming and the volume of IoT roaming traffic are expected to grow rapidly in the coming years.  Beyond the volume increase, we also think BCE (Billing and Charging Evolution) may offer a solution for addressing the more complex monetization requirements associated with IoT applications.

How is Bridge Alliance helping to enable this for it’s member operators? 

Bridge Alliance plays a vital role in raising awareness among our members about the importance and hence necessity of having an IoT Roaming strategy. Additionally, we facilitate and lead negotiations for IoT agreements with partners with regional requirements.  We are currently also harmonising the strategies of our member operators across the region to enhance our collective standing in this domain.

We also provide valuable support to BMOs by helping them acquire the latest industry insights and tools, ensuring that they stay well-informed about prevailing industry trends and enabling them to make well-considered decisions.

Travel eSIM is increasingly impacting traditional roaming. Do your members see this as a threat, or opportunity? 

The rise of travel eSIMs is a double-edged sword – on one hand, it offers the potential to boost roaming usage and wholesale revenue. On the other hand, it is also a threat as it lowers the barriers to entry into the travel connectivity market and has resulted in new types of players to jump on the bandwagon and chip away at the telco’s market share.  Striking the right balance is crucial to safeguard retail roaming revenue while expanding wholesale revenue through these players.

It is now more important than ever for our members to collaborate, come up with new solutions and move forward in creating a wider option of services by leveraging their strengths in network quality, to provide travellers with more options in roaming services, leveraging their strengths in network quality, which is the traditional stronghold of telcos.
How is Bridge Alliance enabling its members to position themselves as this trend evolves?

We see ourselves as a Gateway to Asia, bringing our member operators together to create the best and most innovative solutions for the roaming community and travellers-at-large. With our collective membership, we welcome new roaming partners, be it in the technology or even travel sector, to work with us to strategise and introduce new breakthroughs to the roaming market.

We recently launched a Call-for-Collaboration that seeks to redefine and transform the roamer experience. In today’s connected world where people travel frequently for business and leisure, roaming remains a critical service but may sometimes be seen as a commoditised business. Roaming has remained a core focus area and we believe collaboration and innovating with external partners could inject a breath of fresh air into roaming. We are looking for great ideas and technologies that could create additional value beyond price competition. The winning solutions will gain access to the huge customer footprint, extensive distribution network and operator expertise of the Bridge Alliance ecosystem.

We welcome organisations from all sectors, not only telco but even lifestyle players to co-create new solutions and services with us!

How has the insight feed from Kaleido helped inform your ongoing initiatives for IoT Roaming and eSIM respectively? 

The insights derived from Kaleido’s surveys and research have provided us with a more lucid perspective on the regional and global trends of IoT Roaming and trends of eSIM adoption. These insights are substantiated by both historical data and future projections, complemented by comprehensive studies conducted in these domains. This valuable information has played a pivotal role in guiding and informing our ongoing initiatives in these areas. Strategic decisions can only be made if they are based on facts and figures with basis, so thank you for helping us with those important data points!

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