Mobility is now a key aspect of business success in the digital age. The option to stay seamlessly connected helps companies and their personnel remain agile and competitive while working overseas, away from the office, or on the go. However, organizations must be smarter when it comes to international roaming as oversight could lead to uncontrollable expenses.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can cut international roaming costs for your enterprise. Here’s what you need to do.
Choose The Right International Plan
Some network carriers offer plans that can reduce international roaming charges for a monthly fee that is less than the roaming expenses would be. Options may include international data bundles, better voice rates, and low SMS fees. Most of these features can be enabled or disabled on an as-required basis. If not, make sure to analyze whether the costs during the carrier plan’s period will offset the employees’ expected foreign usage costs. This cost-benefit analysis should be performed before you sign any contracts.
Large organizations may also be able to negotiate certain roaming rates for destinations with high roaming usage. However, this route is usually only available for very large wireless contracts. If your wireless consumption falls within that range, make sure to ask the carrier’s account manager whether or not they’re open to negotiating the roaming charges for specific countries.
Many businesses encourage traveling employees to make use of “soft phone” options by running VoIP apps on their devices and initiating sales and marketing calls when within the range of a WiFi network. This is an attractive proposition for international data usage, given the substantial capacity of WiFi. However, employees need to be trained in the VoIP application, and the call quality could vary from destination to destination.
If you’re going to use this option, make sure to have employees download the necessary apps (Skype, FaceTime, etc.) before they embark on international travel. We recommend doing this because app downloading consumes a lot of data.
Explore The Option of Using Local SIMs
Another way to save on international roaming charges is to permit employees to use a local SIM card. Prepared SIMs with internet data are available all over the world at low prices. However, employees are going to get a different number with the local SIM, so this isn’t the best option if your customers need to reach your staff members. If employees are only going to be reaching out to business partners, however, this could be a good option.
To make this process work well, make sure that employees share their local number with the parties they need to communicate with. Also, companies practicing this option would need to ask their traveling staff to check whether or not their device has a SIM lock. SIM locks prevent users from using a SIM from carriers other than their own. Some smartphones also have the dual SIM feature so that users can use both the regular SIM and the local SIM of the destination that they’re traveling to.
Create an Acceptable Use Policy
One of the best ways to reduce international roaming costs is through end user education and training. Guidelines should be formally listed in an acceptable use policy and the organization should adopt ways to identify personnel who’re not complying with the policy. The policy can include things like using local SIM cards where possible and reducing call lengths when an international SIM is in use.
The policy could also ask employees to avoid downloading unnecessary attachments through the cellular network. However, they can be permitted to download files when a secure WiFi or LAN connection is available. Additionally, it’s a good idea to use the policy to educate the staff on the importance of disabling background apps, automatic updates and other similar features that may automatically consume data on an international cellular network.
Obviously, personnel should adopt these best practices only to the extent they do not reduce their productivity. But even with that condition and without any type of supervision, an organization can slash its international roaming costs simply through an acceptable use policy shared with employees via email and in meetings.
Invest in Scheduled Roaming Management
Some companies continue to experiment with FMC (fixed-mobile convergence) equipment, which automatically switches overseas personnel on a free WiFi or a fixed-rate connection when they are in the coverage area of a WLAN. But an even better approach is to invest in a scheduled roaming management solution. Typical solutions alert the user that he or she is about to reach a dollar or usage threshold or is about to experience an international roaming charge, leaving it to them to take cost-reduction measures. Others simply restrict usage beyond a specific level or in a certain destination.
MobiChord’s scheduled roaming management solution is different. We provide the ability for admins to select the appropriate roaming packages for specific users automatically. End users can be segmented and receive different data plans and features based on the nature of their assignments. These can be assigned by the company or by MobiChord’s managed service team. This way, end users will instantly know what features will be assigned or revoked as well as how much usage they’re allowed on overseas travel. Also, the company will be able to avoid sudden bill shocks.
Visit Mobichord’s website to learn more about scheduled roaming management as part of your telecom expense management solution.