Roaming Fraud to Exceed $8 bn, 5G Networks Vulnerable to Emerging Threats

Losses incurred due to global roaming fraud are projected to surpass a staggering $8 billion by 2028, according to Juniper Research.
Roaming Tariff Market OutlookThis disconcerting trend is driven by the surge in bilateral roaming agreements designed to cater to data-intensive applications across burgeoning 5G networks. Furthermore, the study predicts that fraudulent data traffic will constitute a staggering 80 percent of all operator roaming-related losses by the year 2024. says the global roaming traffic market size is likely to reach $122.74 billion by 2031 from $72.65 billion in 2022, expanding at a CAGR of 6 percent during 2023 – 2031.

As the telecommunications landscape witnesses the phasing out of 2G and 3G networks, operators are vigorously propelling the transition towards embracing 5G and Voice over LTE (VoLTE) roaming services. This strategic shift capitalizes on the substantial virtualization capabilities and reduced operational expenses that 5G networks offer. However, this transition has inadvertently created a fertile ground for fraudsters to orchestrate their attacks, exploiting the inherent vulnerabilities in 5G networks.

The proliferation of bilateral 5G roaming agreements has paved the way for a more intricate web of fraud mitigation strategies, as anticipated by the research. The unprecedented volume of data churned out by 5G roaming connections necessitates the development of innovative solutions adept at promptly identifying fraudulent users and illicit traffic traversing these nascent 5G networks.

A glaring instance is the upswing in 5G subscription fraud, a tactic wherein fraudsters craft fraudulent subscriptions employing falsified credentials, thereby accruing substantial roaming charges without any intent to settle. Until these deceitful subscriptions are eventually identified and terminated, fraudsters clandestinely exploit 5G roaming services, effectively depriving operators of their rightful revenue.

Rosie O’Connor, author of the research, underlines the urgency: “Operators must deploy cutting-edge 5G-specific signaling detection mechanisms and fortified firewalls, underpinned by real-time monitoring and robust ID-registry scrutiny. Only through these measures can operators systematically pinpoint subscription fraud within the anticipated 100 million 5G roaming connections globally expected in 2024.”

The burgeoning realm of fraud mitigation services will emerge as the beacon of hope for operators, swiftly alerting them to any signs of suspicious activities permeating 5G networks. This real-time intelligence arms operators with the tools to discern and thwart anomalous roaming subscribers, considerably mitigating the adverse impact on their revenue streams stemming from fraudulent undertakings.

As the telecommunication industry forges ahead into the uncharted territory of 5G networks, fortifying fraud detection and prevention mechanisms assumes paramount importance. Armed with insights gleaned from Juniper Research’s pioneering study, industry stakeholders are poised to navigate the evolving landscape with vigilance and innovation, safeguarding the integrity of their networks and revenue streams alike.