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Keep control of your mobile tariffs.


Although your business has carefully considered what type of business mobile and tariff it needs, there can still be nasty surprises in your mobile bill resulting in you having to pay more than you originally budgeted. So why is this and how can you avoid it?

1. Educating staff

One of the most common reasons businesses pay over the odds for their mobiles, is employees being unclear as to what is and is not acceptable business use.

Often staff are not made aware of what their data/call allowance is and aren’t given guidance on what is considered high-bandwidth activity, so they cannot economise, or flag up occasions when they may have additional requirements.

Many businesses are now implementing a corporate mobile phone policy to give staff clarity on how breakages, phone thefts or losses will be dealt with, and what is and is not acceptable behaviour. When setting a corporate policy it is important to be clear, but not too restrictive.

However, this should also be teamed with best practice guidance highlighting what type of tariff the phone user has, whether that’s pay as you use, unlimited, a set allowance, or a shared tariff. If the user has a set allowance, they need to know what that is and what is not included within it.

The best practice guidance should also highlight to the employee that they should inform the company should they foresee a need to adjust their allowance for overseas trips, changes in job role etc., as it is much cheaper to purchase a bolt-on allowance than to exceed their allowance.

2. Premium services

Whilst landlines and mobiles are included within your call allowance, there are many other types of number which are not included within a standard bundle allocation, such as overseas calls, non-geographic numbers and premium-rate numbers. These will generally begin with the numbers 084, 087, 09 or 118.

Premium rate text numbers are also unlikely to be included. The costs for these can range in price and are recognised by their SMS shortcode (they are usually five or six digits long and may begin with the numbers 118).

It is possible, and usually fairly simple, to introduce call barring to your fleet of business mobiles to discourage use of these type of numbers. This can obviously be removed should a member of staff be making an overseas trip.

There are a number of premium services that employees may not be aware they are using. Adding emoticons in text messages will sometimes incur extra charges (this can be up to 40p per message), as will downloading some apps and ringtones. Some premium rate services will send unsolicited messages and as a result users can find themselves unwittingly signing up to services.

3. Getting the right tariff

Whilst it would be wonderful if everyone’s mobile phone requirements were exactly the same, unfortunately, one size does not fit all.

The trick is to get the right tariff and package from the start based on your needs and budget. Rather than simply opting for the same tariff as you’ve always had, or just paying for unlimited data and calls to ‘be on the safe side’ and potentially spending more than you need to, you should get a cost analysis from a mobile specialist. In most cases, this is available free of charge and it will help you establish exactly what your needs are, and identify the most cost effective solution/s for you.

A specialist may also be able to offer tips and advice to help you get value for money. For example, data barring – which limits the amount the user can use so that, once they have exceeded their allowance, their internet connection switches off automatically – is a service that small businesses with small/limited mobile budgets may find useful.

There are many other tricks of the trade, such as using mobile hotspots and useful business apps, which can also help businesses get significantly more value from their mobiles for little or no extra cost.

About Andrew Frost

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