Can IT decision makers support increased personal usage on corporate devices without breaking the bank?

Over the last couple of years we have seen a growing number of firms starting to reverse their BYOD plans as security concerns have increased and projected BYOD cost savings have failed to materialise. However with this reversion to ‘Corporate’ smartphones has also come an acceptance that the ‘personal’ use of mobile data and applications is largely unavoidable and so IT decision makers are looking for better ways to allow a more relaxed use of smartphones and mobile data, whilst still keeping a keen eye on how best to control costs and to manage security.

When it comes to mobile contracts, this ‘Corporate Owned Personally Enabled’ (COPE) model does however require businesses to think carefully about how this will change mobile data usage profiles and whether current corporate mobile contracts and tariffs are fit for purpose with this increased level of usage. Many businesses have become used to the concept of “shared mobile data” being the default ‘best’ option for mobile data tariffs, however this “one size fits all” model can often lead to significant overspending for businesses that have a wide range of usage profiles and especially for those that are now looking to support a greater level of personal use of corporate phones.

With traditional ‘Corporate’ provided smartphones; monthly data usage for the vast majority of users ranges between 500MB to 2GB depending on whether phones are fully locked down to business applications or are open to some controlled personal use.

For this relatively low level of usage a ‘shared data plan’ or ‘pooled plan’ (where each user receives 1GB or 2GB of aggregated data) can be cost effective, however when looked at on a price per GB basis, shared data is relatively expensive for higher levels of usage. This is especially true for businesses that either ‘over purchase’ shared data allowances or where overall shared allowances are breached leading to overage charges. In these cases, the average ‘real’ price per GB actually paid is often materially higher than the business believes.

It is through either this ‘under-utilisation’ of allowances or in the case of under purchasing through ‘overage charges’, that carriers make hidden profits from shared data plans. The key to managing cost in this ‘corporate usage’ environment is to keep shared allowances closely aligned to usage and to have ongoing usage monitoring and alerting in place to track and manage overall and individual usage.

With ‘Personally Enabled’ users the focus shifts from optimising data utilisation and costs to providing users with a simple but cost effective way to use much larger volumes of data safely. Allowing relatively unrestricted use of mobile data for personal browsing, streaming and social media means that businesses will see a much wider range and increased volumes of mobile data usage. As a result it is not uncommon to see typical monthly usage of between 2GB and 10GB per month with some individual users consuming 20GB or more.

Shared data plans (even at the most optimised levels and lowest price points) start to quickly become extremely expensive for this profile of usage, and so a migration to ‘individual user plans’ may be a more suitable route for businesses to consider for this group of users.

Businesses taking this approach will either elect to offer and pay for these ‘individual’ mobile plans as an employee benefit (please note that currently these costs will not be treated as taxable benefit or income) or they may choose to provide a simple option for users to pay a monthly “personal enabler” subscription – typically between £5 and £10pm that can be reclaimed via payroll/expenses. This ‘enabler’ should largely offset the additional costs of providing much higher data allowances to users on individual plans.

In all cases we would still recommend that businesses maintain (or implement) data usage alerting and controls to prevent exceptional usage outside of allowances or ‘bill shock’ when roaming; however there are now a range of effective and simple ways that businesses can achieve that control. We’d also strongly recommend that businesses consider implementing a suitable Mobile Threat Defence solution to protect business and personal data and smartphones from the higher levels of security risk that come with personal use of corporate devices.

Working with Utelize to manage your mobile estate and data requirements.

Whilst combining shared data plans for ‘corporate only’ users with personally enabled ‘individual plans’ may at first glance seem complex to manage, Utelize Mobile specialises in this type of tailored solution. Our Managed Mobile Services, specialist support team and flexible contract terms can ensure that your mobile plans are seamlessly managed on your behalf to keep your estate and costs optimised, whilst enabling your users to use their phones productively, safely and cost effectively whether for business or increasing personal use.

If you like our approach, and would like to discuss your own mobile device requirements in more detail then contact us on 03300 240 444 or at to arrange a discovery meeting.

Team Utelize

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