A Golden Opportunity for Wi-Fi Network Owners: Roaming & Data Offload

Today, connectivity is expected, both on the go and at home. Consumers want to move seamlessly throughout their day without a hiccup in their connectivity. There’s no doubt you’ve heard the buzz about the 5G and Wi-Fi 6 rollouts that will deliver higher speeds, lower latency, and the ability to connect more devices reliably. (Check out this blog for more information on these wireless technologies.)

According to Cisco’s Annual Internet Report, by 2023, we will be using 8.7 billion handheld or personal mobile devices globally, and 71% of the global population will be mobile subscribers. Even with the rollout of the new wireless technologies, this ever-increasing mobile device usage will result in congested mobile networks causing calls to drop, interrupted service, slow speeds, and mobile device users’ dissatisfaction. The good news is this demand creates an excellent opportunity for those that own their Wi-Fi networks. Did you know you can increase the value of your Wi-Fi network by partnering with mobile carriers who are interested in optimizing their network coverage through Wi-Fi Roaming and Offload? Keep reading—we explain just how simple it is in this blog.

What is Wi-Fi Roaming?

Wi-Fi Roaming allows a mobile subscriber to connect a third-party network provided by someone other than their service provider. Wi-Fi Roaming has come a long way from the early days of roaming.  At one time, a mobile user who wanted to access a Wi-Fi network had to go through a series of steps to get connected, often causing them to simply give up and remain on a lower quality cellular connection.  Today, however, through the power of new technologies, mobile devices are pre-provisioned by carriers to connect to available trusted and secure third-party Wi-Fi networks automatically. Mobile operators can ensure quality service for their customers by engaging in Wi-Fi Roaming agreements that expand their network coverage in areas where their networks have congestion issues.

What is Data Offload?

Data Offload, a subset of roaming, enables mobile operators and service providers to shift their subscribers to a trusted third-party network to free up their own network capacity or move customers to the best available network resource. Roaming and data offload allow users to make and receive voice calls, watch videos, send and receive data, and access other services, including home data services, outside of their home network, utilizing a visited network.

In today’s new generation of Wi-Fi networks, this transfer between networks is entirely transparent to the end-user. The end-user no longer has to intentionally seek out and connect to an available network. These networks use Passpoint® (also known as Hotspot 2.0). Passpoint has been around for a few years, but it is only recently that the capability was available on most mobile devices. Mobile operators have begun provisioning their devices to seamlessly offload onto Passpoint networks as part of a strategy to ensure their customers have a quality network experience anywhere they go.

As mobile customers’ demands for bandwidth are increasing, they are choosing to pay more for unlimited plans. Mobile operators are looking for more connections to ensure their customers’ devices are connected to the most reliable network at the best price at all times. A third-party managed Passpoint network will fill both the customer demands and the mobile operator’s needs.

What’s driving the demand?

Customers expect an always-connected experience powering their mobile devices wherever they go. As customer demand for network access continues to grow, it is driving the need for mobile operators to seek roaming agreements.

Over the years, there are many reasons the demand for roaming and offload has grown, take a look at this infographic we put together here.

Here are some of the most prevalent drivers of demand:

    • Data-hungry services and applications increase the consumer’s demand for data access.
    • Each year new devices with different form factors and increased capabilities and intelligence are introduced in the market, and this demand will continue to grow. The network access needs of this ever-changing mix and growth of wireless devices that access networks increase demand.

    • Consumers want to seamlessly and securely access their preferred content, whether at home or away. The demand for remote working OTT video services, gaming, and VR /AR applications all require high-quality network resources. This increased need for mobility anywhere along with the continued explosion of data demand and consumption causes consumers to expect more from their mobile operator. This need forces the operator to expand its available network coverage at the best price possible.


Monetize Your Property’s Network

Mobile carriers need to maintain performance in areas of congestion while reducing costs and ensuring customer satisfaction. You want to provide the infrastructure that allows roaming, especially in high-encounter and densely populated areas, and become a Visited Network Provider (VNP). Do you have the time or expertise to negotiate roaming agreements? Are you prepared to manage the connections, contracts, and billing each month? Both of these tasks are time-consuming and require specialized knowledge. To simplify roaming administration, you need a trusted third party who knows the world of roaming, a company you already trust to support your network services.  That’s why Single Digits is introducing the Single Digits Hub for Smart Offload & Wi-Fi Roaming. And single Digits provides a comprehensive suite of services and over 30 years of experience managing roaming and the supporting services globally.

Here are some of the features the Single Digits Roaming & Offload Hub provides:

    • Management and administration of roaming relationships—Single Digits will provide a simplified relationship with leading mobile operators and other service providers, eliminating the time and effort required to negotiate and manage agreements individually.
    • Technical Integration—One redundant connection to the Single Digits Hub provides the interconnections to the carriers. The knowledgeable team at the Single Digits Roaming Hub manages the many-to-one relationship behind the scenes keeping connection issues to a minimum.
    • Monitoring and Reporting— A policy engine that ensures the right users get the right services on each network along with 24x7x365 network monitoring and alerting. Daily comprehensive activity reporting on the performance of roaming services is also available.
    • Administration—We will take care of invoicing, billing and finance, accounting, and reporting functions that enable the business and ensure that you receive additional revenue from your Wi-Fi network.

If you are ready to start monetizing your network, call the Single Digits account team today! If your Wi-Fi network supports Passpoint, it’s easy to increase your earnings by enabling carrier roaming and offload! Contact us today.

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By Betty Cockrell
Director of Roaming & Offload Products


  • Cisco Annual Internet Report, 2018–2023
  • By 2023, NA’s average Wi-Fi speeds from mobile devices will reach 110 Mbps, which represents 2.3-fold growth from 2018 (46.9 Mbps).
  • Wi-Fi hotspots will grow four-fold from 2018 to 2023. Globally, there will be nearly 628 million public Wi-Fi hotspots by 2023, up from 169 million hotspots in 2018.
  • Wi-Fi6 hotspots will grow 13-fold from 2020 to 2023 and will be 11 percent of all public Wi-Fi hotspots by 2023.
  • In North America, total public Wi-Fi hotspots (including homespots) will grow 3-fold from 2018 to 2023 from 24.9 million in 2018 to 75.6 million by 2023.
  • In North America, total Wi-Fi homespots will grow 3-fold from 2018 to 2023 from 23.1 million in 2018 to 73.4 million by 2023.

Now that you know what you’ve been missing,