Top 5 tips for reducing mobile costs

Reducing mobile costs has become a priority for business over the last five years as staff become ever more mobile. Some analysts estimate that wireless costs in enterprises have increased by up to a third over the last five years, despite lower unit costs. We suggest five actions to help businesses reduce their mobile costs without damaging the business benefits that mobile technology provides them.
1. eliminate the 'black budget'
The problem with controlling mobile spending is that much of it is unknown. This so-called black budget threatens to swell with the uptake of HSPA dongles and other connectivity methods. The key to eliminating it is to put all this mobile connectivity under central control to remove ad-hoc costs and other uncontrolled elements.
2. centralize purchase and management of mobile services
It's not just the black budget driving businesses to centralize their mobile services. Individual users, groups or departments going it alone to strike mobile deals means that enterprises miss out on massive economies of scale and special offers that are made available to large mobile fleets. These typically include free mobile-to-mobile and on-net calls, and reduced data costs for bulk buying. 

3. standardize devices and providers
In addition to using a single provider for their communications needs, companies need to standardize on a limited number of platforms. This can greatly reduce support, management and procurement costs. In addition, standardized devices will also simplify any mobile application rollout. 

4. control 'at-desk' mobile usage
Fixed mobile substitution has always been a bane for enterprises. Many employees insist on using their mobile phones while at their desk, representing a perfectly avoidable cost. Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) technology has matured in recent years and companies are now able to route calls over their own network instead of mobile providers when it is cheaper to do so.
5. look at productivity in addition to cost control
In telecoms cost control, businesses need to balance the cost of mobility against the value that it is bringing to the business rather than simply focusing on reducing the line item. Mobile technology, for example, can help reduce time needed to make a decision and enable people to work anywhere. 

A longer version of this article first appeared in Enterprise Briefing.

Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.