Mobile networks, devices and budgets have always been challenging for businesses to control and support. To compound matters further, they’re more prone to loss and damage than all other forms of IT hardware and they are easy to resell.
Managing mobile IT is a complex business.
Unlike most IT expenditure, mobile costs are also highly sensitive to end-user behaviour. Controlling that behaviour whilst also ensuring employees remain productive is both difficult to achieve and resource-intensive. The way we use our mobile phones also varies dramatically from user to user, and with the advent of COVID-19, many users migrated to Wi-Fi instead of cellular networks as a result of remote working, leading to generally lower levels of data usage. Conversely, for those users struggling with home broadband connectivity, the use of tethering and mobile data has exploded to unprecedented levels, often resulting in bill shock, and leaving IT teams unable to effectively control costs.
The growth of 5G services will only serve to increase this challenge, forcing businesses to find the right balance between user productivity and usage controls.
Challenges to Effective Mobile Management
Challenge 1: Remote Working
COVID-19 has transformed the way we work, and reliance on mobile and broadband services and collaboration tools has never been greater.
Challenge 2: Increasing mobile data consumption
Remote working, faster 4G and 5G networks and the exponential increase of video in the workplace will create vast increases in mobile data usage.
Challenge 3: Increasing mobile device costs
That can no longer be subsidised by network “tech funds”.
Challenge 4: BYOD programs failing to deliver expected savings
Driven by higher IT support costs coupled with lower BYOD adoption rates.
Challenge 5: Increasing mobile security, data leakage, GDPR and compliance risks
Leading to increased pressure to issue managed corporate devices.
Negotiating the right-fit mobile contract for your business
To effectively control mobile device and airtime spending, Finance and IT teams must work together to discuss business requirements, challenges and options for the future, before any engagement on contract renegotiations. All too often, businesses view negotiating a good tariff as the primary objective when reviewing mobile services. However, without the right flexibility and commercial terms in place, costs can quickly spiral out of control over the term of the agreement.
With the right approach, you can put into place more flexible and cost-effective mobile solutions that offer the lowest overall total cost of ownership over the term of the agreement, allowing your business to adapt to changing working practices and new business requirements.
Planning Mobile Requirements
To achieve the best outcome, there are areas that we recommend reviewing in advance of commencing negotiations:
- Start early – Commence planning and market appraisal at least six months before the end of your existing contract and allow at least an additional three months for a smooth network migration to provide you with the best chance of securing the right terms.
- Review “in building” mobile coverage – Create the flexibility to change if required and be aware that new solutions like Wi-Fi calling and cheaper signal boosters are starting to significantly reduce the need for mobile ‘coverage schemes’.
- Never allow tech fund to build up unused – “Use or lose it” rules normally apply for mobile contracts, with some even expiring three months before the end of agreements.
- Try to align negotiations with major device refresh plans – Whilst aligning contracts with the real need to upgrade devices is a challenge, where possible it will reduce the resources required to upgrade user devices and makes the change in airtime simpler for suppliers.
- Understand mobile usage profiles and mobile data consumption – Without a very clear understanding of current usage and costs, and without the detail to compare various proposals side by side, you’ll likely struggle to make a clear and informed decision. With COVID-19, there have been enormous changes in mobile voice and data usage. It’s never been more important to look at usage trends and model different usage scenarios (e.g. with and without roaming usage).
- Estimate and model different scenarios for changing mobile data consumption – faster 4G and 5G networks, greater levels of remote and mobile working, higher use of video for work and content streaming will all have a material impact on data consumption over the next two to three years. Basing tariffs and modelling costs on today’s data usage is likely to mean that your future costs are significantly underestimated.
- Build-in flexibility for known market and business changes – Locking in connections or usage allowances may seem like a good way to secure cost savings, however, those allowances will need to adapt. Flexibility is critical to your ability to manage mobile.
- Model the impact of BYOD – BYOD will have a wide impact on businesses and with the advent of eSim technology, an increase may be seen in the use of devices with both a corporate and personal profile and number. For some, it will materially decrease both demands for corporate devices and connections. For others, the challenges of managing a large BYOD estate may lead to increased IT resource and security costs.
Global Mobile Data Traffic From 2017 to 2022 (in Exabytes Per Month)
Set Clear Objectives for Mobile Contract Negotiations
With requirements planning complete, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of business needs, the barriers that must be overcome, and you’ll possess a clear model of current costs and usage.
You’re now ready to start reviewing tariff and contract options with your current supplier and the wider market.
10 Key Negotiations Points
Separate mobile network and device purchasing
Aim for SIM Only contracts
Ensure no minimum term per connection
Minimise contract commitments
Under-achievement penalties should be proportionate and relevant to the actual losses of the network
Use shared data allowances or pooled data plans
Know your roaming profile and understand proposed roaming tariffs
Fully understand tariff bolt-on rules for UK and roaming
Take time to understand the proposed reporting, billing, alerting and support capabilities of your provider
Ensure that commercial schedules and tariffs are clear and contain all the negotiated terms and details of all charges
How Mobliciti can help
Negotiating the right mobile network contract for your business helps determine how successfully IT and Finance teams can manage mobile services and devices in the future. Take a short-term view, without truly understanding your usage profiles or considering future changes, and you’ll likely “bake-in” overspending and inflexibility, without realising until it’s too late.
Walking away from the allure of mobile “tech funds” can bring significant long-term benefits. Being able to proactively manage and control mobile costs and budgets, source mobile devices effectively and have a wide choice of device finance models, all whilst having the flexibility to adapt to future challenges and changes are some of the benefits of taking control of mobile contract negotiations.
Mobliciti’s Virtual Mobile Manager (VMM) is designed for businesses that require hands-on and experienced support to ensure that mobile services, costs, and usage are optimised and proactively managed on an ongoing basis.
The VMM service combines experienced mobile administration resources, advanced management tools, usage monitoring, data analysis and commercial market intelligence to provide businesses with an all-in-one virtual ‘mobile manager’ function, working as a direct extension of IT teams and freeing up internal resources. Get in touch to discover how Mobliciti’s VMM can assist your business.