Article
Written by Brit Williams
Posted on 26/08/2014

Time to audit your outgoings: why overseas data costs are clocking up

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British businesses pay a hefty price of around £170m for staff mobile data roaming – and that’s in the summer months alone. A new survey by mobile data gateway Wandera reveals that employees will use twice as much roaming data between the months of June and August compared to any other quarter.

 

Although the EU has recently capped the charges mobile operators can impose on both businesses and individuals, the fees to make calls, send texts or surf the web can still be extortionate when you’re visiting another EU country. And businesses foot an average 35 per cent of the total annual estimate of £500m for corporate data usage. 

 

Costly culprits

But knowledge is power, and understanding the source of your expenses is important when implementing an effective policy for staff data usage. 

Email and video account for the largest share of data charges, but better awareness about charge rates, phone settings and staff data policies can help you slash costs. Encourage employees to stick to the following guidelines to start reducing your mobile charges immediately: 

  • Turn the phone onto airplane mode to block roaming. 
  • Use Wi-Fi instead of 3G or 4G wherever possible. 
  • Perform only low-data tasks like reading and responding to emails. 
  • Never stream or download large images or videos. 
     

Corporate data policies

There are also some firm-wide actions you can implement to take control of your outgoing costs and start generating more cash:

  • Recruit the data specialist services of companies like Goodspeed, which offer packages from €0.006 per megabyte and discounted business tariffs across multiple devices. 
  • Download data compression apps like Onavo to transfer data in zipped files. “Mobile data optimisation is important because many websites and apps are not optimised for mobile,” says Wandera CEO Eldar Tulvey. “Smartphones often use far more data than they actually need to.”
  • Clearly state any data limitation in your staff mobile policy. Perhaps you’re happy for employees to check their emails when they’re abroad, but wish to enforce a ban on video streaming. Whatever you decide, make sure to educate the whole team. 
     

Impending changes

“Bill-shock” has seen some companies fork up the likes of £1,500 to cover a single staff member’s data usage, reports Wandera. And that can be especially damning for small businesses. “For SMEs, the boundaries between home and work are being increasingly blurred, thanks to new technology. Checking emails, or even Facebook on a work phone abroad, can lead to big bills,” says Tulvey. 

Fortunately, incidents of bill-shock will be dramatically reduced when a ban on EU roaming charges comes into play from December 2015. Until then, companies would be wise to audit staff phone usage and implement a more affordable communications strategy.

 

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