Managing mobile costs is a challenge for all organisations,
especially as responsibilities and budget authority may often sit
in several places-IT, finance, personnel, managers and, of
course, the employees themselves. This situation becomes even
more complex and problematic for those organisations that span
across countries or have to use multiple suppliers within one
country. Getting to grips with these costs in a way that does not
undermine the value of mobile flexibility is paramount, and
organisations need to gather sufficient detail to effectively
manage and analyse their mobile costs.
In less than a couple of decades, the mobile phone has moved from
a clunky accessory for city types to a ubiquitous communications
tool. Although phones are cheaper and more powerful than ever,
the ongoing airtime costs grow in direct proportion with usage
and can soar while roaming, despite volume discounts and flat
rate tariffs. Handsets are easy to buy, users are fully
accustomed to their use so, for business in particular, costs are
There are many factors driving this:
More users: many different job roles now demand a company-issued
mobile phone, or for the employer to at least pay the bill.
Beyond voice: no longer is a simple phone sufficient-there is
vastly increased use of mobile email devices, smartphones with
internet access and laptops with a dongle-so data growth is
Fixed to mobile: even next to a cheaper to use desktop phone,
most employees find a mobile phone more convenient. Not only is
it always with them, it has all their contacts contained in easy
to navigate address books.
Consumer impact: as a constant part of daily life, the mobile has
become an extension of personality. At one time simply ringtones,
it now includes features from cameras to social networking and
Operator push: margins-for voice in particular-are declining in
many markets, and operators are under pressure to grow Average
Revenue Per User (ARPU). While it is hard to drive up individual
prices, it is in operators' interests to bundle, combine, and
sometimes confuse, with tariff propositions.
Employees recognise that mobile phones are powerful tools which
can add great value, but this comes at a cost. Businesses have to
understand and take control of those costs right across their
organisation to ensure they are not excessive, disproportionate
or incorrectly levied.
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