If consumers object to higher cell phone bills–especially those with mobile smartphone data plans–businesses should be howling. For years, mobile carriers’ pricing plans were structurally similar to land line rates. After all, if you dominate a market, why change?
Around two years ago, business cell phone costs for cellular exceeded land lines. And a year ago, company cellular costs exceeded voice and data over traditional T1 lines.
That explains why today’s lean and mean companies–small to large–are eager to lower all operational costs, especially growing phone bills that are time-consuming to review and even more so to cut.
Countering management’s desire to lower costs are its employees who, increasingly, want iPhones and other smartphones, a break from a decade ago when BlackBerry’s were standard issue for the mobile workforce.
Cellular Optimization, an Indianapolis-based firm founded in 2003, helps companies identify cellular overcharges and negotiate lower rates with all the major carriers. Brett Thompson, my podcast interview guest, is the driving force behind the company, helping companies reduce cell phone costs an average of 25%.
According to Brett, who has major account experience with Verizon and T-Mobile, requesting lower bills from cell phone providers is unproductive. Account rep commissions are based on a percentage of monthly bills; therefore, there’s little incentive for reps to discount.
As enterprises have slashed IT budgets and assigned cellular to smaller staffs, there’s less time to monitor the chicken coop from the foxes, let alone provide employee support for multiple handset types.
Outsourcing business cellular cost reduction to firms like CO, therefore, makes sense, especially since the company only gets paid if it chops its clients’ voice and data phone bills. Cellular Optimization negotiates better rates for voice and data on behalf of its clients, then takes a cut of the savings.
How to Reduce Cell Phone Costs
Brett recommends that smaller companies with only 10-30 mobile phones first analyze costs on their own using these three steps to save at least 10% off their bills:
- Divide the total cellular bill by the number of smartphones. If $105 per month or lower, the average cost per Gartner, costs are under control. Businesses with a mixture of feature and smartphones should pay less, unless there’s a larger mobile workforce.
- Identify average cost-per-user by comparing the top ten mobile user reports with others. Try to pinpoint reasons for differences among employee phone use. Carriers can provide online tools to help their customers analyze monthly bills.
- Watch for over billing on voice, data and text plans, including no longer used excise taxes. Contact carrier billing departments whenever unusual charges appear.
Finding Further Cost Reductions
If your IT department is responsible for more than 50 cell phones, you probably need help finding ways to cut the bills and save time.
Cellular Optimization, for example, reviews twelve months billing history, compares carrier rate plans, including the “off-shelf pricing,” known only to experts in the business, and negotiates with carriers to reduce business cell phone costs from 10%-86%.
Enterprise-size companies gain the most from the audits due to the complexity of carrier plans, number of phones and cellular cost reduction methods within buildings.
Femtocells and cellular gateways, for example, connect cell phones to existing company and carrier telecommunications equipment. Virtual smartphone over IP solutions are also available.
Further information about Brett Thompson and Cellular Optimization
Brett Thompson – LinkedIn Profile