Are you considering providing company phones to your staff? Providing separate smartphones for them is the fastest way to increase security in your corporate communications, and it can also improve productivity and enhance communication throughout your organization. Company phones are also a nice perk for employees who would otherwise be using their personal data for work-related tasks. Since choosing the right plan can be daunting, discover five factors you should consider to help you make the best decision.
Know Your Budget
If you begin with a clear idea of how much you’re willing to spend, you’ll narrow your choices immediately and simplify the decision-making process. Be sure to consider the monthly plan cost and the cost of the phones themselves. Assume all the phones will need to be replaced at least every two years; if your staff needs to have up-to-date technology, plan to replace the phones annually.
Analyze Your Needs
How will your staff members use their phones to do business, now and in the future? Will they make many voice calls, or will they mostly use texts or messaging apps? Will they need good cameras, or is that feature superfluous? Will they send or receive large amounts of data? Will they need to be able to communicate from remote areas, or will they mostly be in major cities? Do members of your staff travel overseas? Will they use their phones to attend video conferences?
Create a clear list of features that matter to you in three areas: the phone itself, the network, and the plan. Prioritize the list by considering how much each feature contributes to productivity and adds to your business operations.
Avoid Overage Charges
Secure enough data so that your company won’t incur overage charges for employee phones. The average smartphone user will work with about 2 to 3 gigabytes of data each month.
Take a look at your needs analysis and decide whether you think your staff will use more or less data than an average cell phone user. If their work effectiveness will depend on transmitting files, accessing company websites, receiving email, or conducting video conferencing, don’t skimp on the plan. In this case, you should probably consider unlimited phone plans from a reliable network provider such as T-Mobile, which offers an advanced 4G LTE network coast to coast. The reliable network is important: Unlimited data is useless if your staff can’t access it when they need it.
If employees will be using the phones primarily to send text messages, you can make do with less data. Staff members who have unlimited service on their personal phones may not be good judges of how much data they’re consuming, or they may forget to consider the data package altogether. If you choose a limited plan, be sure to monitor their usage closely for the first few months to prevent overage charges. If your company plan includes a pool of data, also be sure no single employee is using an unfair share of data.
Understand When Prepaid Plans Work
Prepaid plans used to target teenagers and people with bad credit, but prepaid plans have evolved a great deal in recent years. Issuing prepaid phones to a few key staff members is a great way to test your ideas for a company phone plan without a long-term commitment. Prepaid service can sometimes be a good idea for small businesses or startups, whose needs change too rapidly to commit to a contract.
When you’re comparing contracts, check the fine print. Look at activation fees, termination penalties, overage charges, and any roaming fees or international charges that might apply in your situation. Use a crowdsourced map such as OpenSignal to see how well each carrier’s signal holds up in the areas where you do business. Finally, place several calls to customer service and see how long it takes to get someone on the phone and how you feel about your interactions with the company.
Choosing a mobile service provider might seem overwhelming, but if you take time to clarify your business budget and analyze your needs, selecting the right plan will be easier on you and your business.