“I can see that the charge was for international data,” she said, “but how did he use over a thousand dollars’ worth?”
It’s becoming more common
There are few telecom administrators who haven’t experienced the shock of reviewing an invoice and seeing hundreds, thousands - even tens of thousands worth of roaming data charges for an employee who was traveling internationally.
The experience is becoming increasingly common as smartphone users are consuming more data than ever before, especially for video and social networking. It's not just that mobility users can do more with their devices than they could in the past; they want to do more, especially data-intensive activities like sharing photos and streaming media.
How to deal with it once it happens
When faced with a five-figure charge for data roaming, most enterprises and mobility managed service providers handle the charge in one way: they contact the carrier and request a credit.
The carriers will usually honor the request for credit, but the entire process of requesting the credit, following up on the request and making sure the credit is finally applied to the account can take hours of administrative time.
Requesting credits after the fact isn’t the only solution. Instead of having to react to each exorbitant roaming charge, organizations can take proactive steps to avoid steep data roaming charges altogether.
How to avoid it
Because a single employee traveling internationally with a smartphone, hotspot or data card has the potential to incur tens of thousands of dollars in avoidable charges, Wireless Analytics has developed a multifaceted approach combining proactive and reactive tactics to get international roaming charges under control.
- Provisioning is only the first step
The first step is to ensure an adequate international data plan is provisioned for the traveler. Most organizations are already in the practice of provisioning international data features for individuals travelling internationally, either as-needed or perpetually, for frequent fliers. What some organizations may not realize, though, is that a data plan alone is not enough.
- Mobility end users play the biggest role
A thorough strategy for avoiding international data roaming overages relies heavily on educating employees about the high costs associated with international data roaming and the preventative measures they can take to keep the costs down. Ultimately, how employees are using their devices - responsibly, or otherwise - will determine whether costs are contained, or out of control.
- Communication is key
To get employees engaged with controlling their international roaming data costs, you need to be consistent with communication. It may seem counter-intuitive, but seasoned travelers should receive the same guidance as employees embarking on a one-off trip.
Reiterating best practices and policies for traveling internationally with a corporate mobile device helps reinforce the importance of complying with the guidelines, and providing the same guidance to all international travelers ensures nobody slips through the cracks and ends up uninformed.
Because the communication needs to remain consistent, our customers rely on our help desk to facilitate much of the knowledge transfer and keep everyone informed. Each time a customer requests international service, our help desk provides critical details like calling rates and dialing instructions along with confirmation that roaming features have been enabled.
Your next steps
If your organization is trying to control costs related to international data roaming, you’ll need to decide the proactive steps your employees need to take (these can include many tactics, from avoiding data use that isn’t work-related, to completely disabling roaming data on their device). In addition to determining what employees need to do, you’ll also need to plan how this will be communicated.
The initial groundwork may take some time, as well as trial and error, but will save you countless hours of administrative time in the future - and drastically reduce international roaming data use across your enterprise.
Need more guidance?
Wireless Analytics is preparing a comprehensive guide that will explain, in depth, how to create your strategy for managing and reducing the costs related to international mobile roaming.
We’re including best practices, data-saving steps for specific device models and templates you can use to educate employees and ultimately, drive down international data spending. Sign up here to receive a copy of our guide as soon as it’s published.
Looking for a service provider?
Wireless Analytics, a pioneer in wireless expense management, has been providing mobility managed services to satisfied clients since 2003. For mobility management made easy, contact us today.
What are your thoughts?Has your organization tried another track for minimizing international data roaming costs? What has worked - or failed - in your attempts to drive this expense down? Let us know in the comments!