Every time one of your company’s employees makes a call from London or downloads an email attachment in Shanghai, that’s money in the bank for your wireless carrier.
As the Wall Street Journal has reported, most of the revenue from international roaming charges is pure profit to carriers. By 2018, wireless carriers will be pulling in $42 billion in global roaming charges.
But while your company’s wireless carrier doesn’t have much incentive to prevent your users from racking up astronomical roaming fees, you do.
Here are four ways your company can save money on international roaming:
1. Make Sure You Have the Right Carriers For the Right Places
No wireless carrier is a one-size-fits-all solution. Different domestic carriers charge different international roaming rates to different countries. International carriers may cover certain countries but charge huge roaming fees in others.
If your company’s employees travel often, it’s important to understand which carrier fits which business role. Of course, this kind of granular carrier management isn’t easy when there are hundreds of wireless carriers worldwide.
A managed mobility services provider that has experience with the full range of international and domestic wireless carriers can help your company identify and negotiate with the carriers that are right for your business travelers.
2. Use Technology to Save Money
There are many different technological workarounds that will help your users avoid consuming wireless data overseas:
- An international MiFi device will connect to a variety of carriers worldwide and let travelers set up personal wireless networks for internet access and VoIP calling.
- By switching SIM cards or virtual SIM cards, users can tap into foreign wireless networks without switching phones.
- If users have Wi-Fi access in their hotel rooms or remote work locations, apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and FaceTime Audio can make calls via a data connection.
- Carriers like AT&T now offer Wi-Fi calling as well.
- Apps like Wandera will allow you to throttle your users’ data usage when they’re roaming.
3. Create and Enforce a Wireless Policy
But how do you make sure your employees favor Wi-Fi networks when they’re traveling? How can you convince them to notify you when they’re headed abroad so you can issue them a new SIM card?
If your company doesn’t have a wireless policy already, start writing one now. If you have one, make sure it includes a stipulation that users must report their travel plans so you can provision their devices properly for international use. It should also include guidelines for how to use their devices while roaming.
But policy is toothless if there’s no one to enforce it. We like to think of wireless policy as the law and administrators as the sheriff. If you’re not able to monitor your users’ adherence to your wireless policy, a managed mobility services provider can step into that “bad cop” role for you.
4. Teach Your Users Well
Most business users have no concept of the consequences of using their phones while they’re traveling. After all, when they’re in the U.S., it just works everywhere. Why would Europe or Asia be any different?
When an employee incurs a thousand-dollar roaming charge, it’s usually not because they’re trying to bilk your company. They just don’t know any better.
Awareness goes hand-in-hand with wireless policy. Any policy change should be accompanied by a communications plan to educate users on what they can and cannot do with their devices while roaming internationally.
Again here, a managed mobility services provider can help you strategize ways to make your users aware of their data usage and the limits that have been set on it.
Slashing roaming charges is just one way to cut your company’s wireless expenses.
How do you avoid roaming charges when you travel? Please share your tips in the comments section below.