The Clearing House Real-Time Payments Tracker May 2024 Banner

International Roaming Packs Drive Travelers Deeper Into the Connected Economy

telecommunications, travel, roaming, phones

In a global landscape increasingly defined by connectivity, telecommunications companies are taking strides to cater to the needs of modern travelers. 

Indian telecommunications giant Bharti Airtel has made a significant move toward this end by launching budget-friendly international roaming packs. Unveiled on Tuesday (April 22), the roaming packs are designed to cater to customers traveling to 184 countries, offering competitive rates compared to local in-country SIM cards. 

Augmented data benefits and in-flight connectivity further enhance the offering, particularly benefiting the increasing number of business travelers who may require constant accessibility during their journeys.

Commenting on the news, Amit Tripathi, director of customer experience and marketing at Bharti Airtel, highlighted that the packs “will enable seamless roaming access to customers traveling anywhere in the world,” reshaping the company’s “value proposition for customers and [giving] them the freedom to use data and voice at an affordable tariff.” 

The initiative comes at a pivotal time when the connected economy is booming, witnessing a surge in both leisure and business travel. In this dynamic landscape, seamless connectivity has become a necessity rather than a luxury for modern travelers. However, traditional international roaming services often come with exorbitant charges and limitations, impeding communication. Airtel’s move seeks to address these pain points by providing connected travelers with affordable and convenient roaming solutions.

Moreover, Airtel’s initiative aligns with connected travel trends highlighted by PYMNTS, including the utilization of digital technologies by travel industry players to enhance travel experiences both before and during trips. 

For instance, Booking Holdings, the parent company of and other connected economy hospitality brands, recently upgraded its AI-powered travel assistant, Penny, streamlining travel planning and booking processes.

The company is also aiming to become a super travel app with “Connected Trips,” a new program offering package trips, flights and access to attractions, all booked through the website or mobile app.

“We are continuing to strengthen the direct relationship with our travelers,” CEO Glenn Fogel told analysts on the company’s latest earnings call. “We remain confident in our long-term outlook for the travel industry [and] believe we are well positioned to deliver attractive growth across our key metrics in the coming years.” 

Similarly, the aviation industry is undergoing digital transformation to enhance passenger experiences. Recent initiatives such as the FlyMyAirport digital platform at Dayton International Airport and the Mobile Passport Control app by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection exemplify this trend, providing travelers with tools to navigate airports efficiently and expedite re-entry into the country.

Meanwhile, a collaboration between KLM Royal Dutch AirlinesAmsterdam Airport Schiphol and global identity technologies provider IDEMIA is exploring the integration of Digital Travel Credential technology — a digital copy of passport information stored on the passport chip — and facial recognition technology to streamline border control processes at border control checkpoints. 

“Upon arrival at Schiphol Airport, participants pass through a special DTC ‘Tap & Go’ border gate,” as explained in a post on the Government of Netherlands website. “Participants then hold their passports against the border gate. If there is a match between the DTC and the offered passport and no peculiarities have emerged from previous checks, the participants can cross the border.”