Ooredoo Qatar announced that it will be adding “roam like home” to many of its mobile plans. Customers will be able to use their local plan allowances while travelling in twelve countries: Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and the United States. For example, a customer with the Shahry XL plan would be able to use the 20GB of included data and in any of the listed countries. The service is accessed through a Roam Like Home key, which is available to customers through the Ooredoo App.
Ooredoo’s new offer is an example of the growing popularity of “roam like home” outside of Europe, where it has long been a common feature of mobile plans. What is also notable in this case is the range of locations covered – which include many non-Middle Eastern countries – likely demonstrating a growing global travel demand from Qatari consumers. Additionally, it is likely that Ooredoo is trying to leverage the public’s pent-up desire for international travel to gain new long-term customers.
While roaming is a lucrative additional source of revenue for operators, the traditional charging models—per MB fees and pre-purchased add-ons—are also common sources of customer frustration. With this move, Ooredoo is sacrificing some of these returns from international travelers for a potentially bigger slice of its domestic market.