One business information expert has called cell phones one of the top five business tools today. Not coincidentally, another study showed that telecommunications costs – including wireless charges – are now among the top five line item expenses for a typical company. Cell phones are clearly indispensable for most organizations, from the largest down to the smallest, but to a business owner or manager it can be a lot less clear whether the company is getting the best value for its wireless expenditures. Large corporations that have done wireless phone bill audits have sometimes been surprised to find thousands of dollars, if not tens of thousands, in potential savings. But many companies have never made a concerted attempt at cell phone bill management simply because time constraints and other priorities discourage such a complicated undertaking.
Choosing the cell phone service provider and plan that best suit your company’s needs should begin with an analysis of your current cell phone usage. If yours is a smaller organization that hasn’t made the jump to mobile until now, examining your current landline usage patterns can still help you to determine your cell phone needs.
The answer to the following questions can guide your decisions and choices:
Who in your company really needs a cell phone? – Rarely does every single employee at a company require a cell phone. Current usage patterns will show you which employees if any underutilize their cell phones and thus may not really need them. Conversely, you might find employees whose heavy long-distance landline usage or placement of collect calls would indicate a need for a mobile phone.
Do your employees regularly make international calls? – If you do business internationally, look for a cell phone plan that includes low-cost calling to numbers outside the U.S., or even one that includes international calls at no extra charge.
What geographical coverage do you need? – Each cell phone company’s coverage map can be found on its website or in its literature. Make sure coverage is good in the cities or regions of the country where you do business. Roaming charges for calls or data services outside of covered areas can be very expensive. On the other hand, if yours is a local or regional business, you may be able to get a better deal from a smaller wireless carrier that covers just the area you need than from one of the big national cell phone companies.
Do you need a texting plan? – Texting long ago ceased to be just a social toy for teenagers. Texting can be a very useful business communication tool, although it’s essential to have a strong company policy in place outlining acceptable texting practices (such as no texting while driving). Unlimited texting plans are continually getting cheaper and may be the best choice if you determine that your employees will use text messages frequently to communicate with clients, vendors and each other.
Should you get a data plan? If so, which plan will you need? – If your company’s current cell phone plan doesn’t include data services and you have no data usage history to guide you, anticipating what level of service to buy can be tricky. An IT consultant could be helpful in analyzing your mobile data needs and then translating that information into a projection of approximate data usage levels expressed in megabytes (MB). Data plan pricing usually is tiered based on MB of data transmitted in a month.
The answers to these questions will help you to compare the cell phone business plans offered by the various wireless carriers. However, keep in mind that no matter what you see in the carriers’ published rate scheme, it may be possible to negotiate a special deal that’s even more tailored to your company’s particular needs than one of the standard plans. If a carrier wants your business badly enough, they will be willing to negotiate. Make it clear that your firm is considering other wireless carriers who may be willing to accommodate you.
Telanalysis’s expert telecom management services include wireless phone bill audits to ensure that your company isn’t paying too much for wireless service. Telanalysis can also use its experience to analyze, negotiate and procure cell phone services on your company’s behalf. For more than 25 years, Telanalysis has provided all kinds of IT and telecommunications consulting services for a wide variety of private, government and non-profit clients. Call Telanalysis for a consultation at 866-300-6999, and make sure that your organization is getting the most for its wireless and other telecom expenditures.