Avoiding expensive vacations

by Liz Edwards for blog, EMM, MODA

We have all experienced or heard about the nightmare moment when an astronomical mobile bill lands through the letterbox a month after your vacation. If you travel abroad and use your smartphone as if you were at home, it’s a risk you always run.

AdobeStock_94416048Forgetting to switch off automatic updates or continuing to stream your favorite music and video services becomes a lot more expensive when you’re roaming in a foreign country. Now imagine that bill in multiples, where a large company issues its employees with smartphones, and you have a pretty significant spike in monthly costs.

Part of the problem is the premium we pay to roam. The good news, at least as far as Europe is concerned, is that a complete ban on roaming charges will come into effect by June next year. And from April this year, roaming surcharges have been restricted – voice calls will not exceed 5 cent per minute; texts at 2 cent, and 5 cent per megabyte of data.

Managing mobile usage

All well and good, but you don’t need to be an accountant to see that personal usage is still going to spike if employees take company paid-for-devices on their annual leave, regardless of reduced roaming rates. It highlights ongoing issues around device management that every organization needs to address.

mobile data when roaming is the top cause of bill shock

Regardless of whether you are pursuing a BYOD (Bring Your Own device) or COPE (Corporate Owned Personally Enabled) strategy, you have to set out rules and policies with employees and find a way of enforcing them. (We go through pros and cons of BYOD and COPE in our EMM eBook)

Smartphones and tablets have blurred the lines between work and leisure, and changed the way we live our lives. We use social media to connect with friends and multimedia services to keep us entertained and informed. Parallel business services are transforming the way we work, with email on the go and business apps that can be accessed from anywhere. Working out who pays for what is no easy feat.

There are two basic options for companies: reimburse employees for work-related mobile activity (which eradicates holiday usage instantly) or swallow the costs of everything and treat mobile as a benefit-in-kind. A third option is the attempt to dump all the costs on employees who occasionally use their own phones for work – something that won’t stand the test of labor law if people think their employer is taking advantage.

Mobile balancing act

Bearing in mind that organizations will continue to mobilize their businesses –the benefits are simply too big to ignore – the best path is the second practice. With Asavie Moda you get the best of both worlds, keeping employees happy because you’re picking up the bill, but at the same time protecting the business from “bill shock” by determining what data services the user can and can’t access.

Deny socil and streamingYou can prohibit all access to social media sites and streaming services, for example, which will certainly stop summer spikes. But we find that customers are much more nuanced in their approach, accepting that some personal use is acceptable and good for morale. It’s about striking a balance between empowering the business with mobile solutions while facilitating employees to live their lives.

Because Asavie Moda allows you to monitor usage through a web-based portal on a SIM-by-SIM basis, you can be generous in terms of personal usage and simply block activity when they get close to exceeding their data limit. You can also be proscriptive when you need to be – prohibiting updates and downloads when roaming abroad.

However you choose to handle the balancing act, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. Legal cases are becoming increasingly common with disputes over bills and ownership of data on a device. These issues are not going to go away, so act now and devise an approach that everyone understands and signs up to.

iPad-Pro-Mockup-Mobility-300Learn more about better mobility management by downloading our EMM eBook


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