Optimizing Telecom Mobility Services Spend

April 16, 2024
By Jay Chauhan, MBA, PMP

In today’s interconnected world, telecom mobility services play a pivotal role in driving business operations, facilitating communication and enhancing productivity. Sourcing these services entails careful consideration of telecom expense management, category management and negotiation strategies.

Employing best practices with these three elements can ensure optimal outcomes.

How Invoices Can Provide Insights

In telecom expense management (TEM), the first step is to analyze carrier invoices, which are managed by the company’s TEM team (if there is one). Focus on:

Usage analysis. Analyze patterns across different lines, departments or user groups to identify instances of underutilization or overutilization of plans and features to confirm must-have needs versus those that are good to have. Particularly look at international roaming and travel costs as they tend to spiral out of control at times.

Policy compliances. Identify instances of non-compliance or policy violations and take note of the corrective actions needed to enforce compliance and reduce unnecessary expenses.

Device tracking and management. Evaluate device procurement, upgrade, and replacement practices to identify opportunities for cost savings. Also, look at ways to repurpose, recycle, or retire obsolete or underutilized devices to minimize costs and streamline inventory management.

Plan Components to Fit Enterprise Requirements

Armed with comprehensive insights from telecom invoices, companies will be better equipped to negotiate favorable terms with telecom providers. The next crucial element is understanding telecom plan components and tailoring them to fit enterprise requirements.

Voice and data services are key considerations. When evaluating these, consider such factors as coverage, network reliability, data speeds and international roaming capabilities. Choose plans that align with the communication needs of the workforce — do you need unlimited service or an international plan that covers certain areas?

Lastly, assess device options, including smartphones, tablets and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and evaluate device management features, like remote configuration, security and asset tracking. Some questions to ask: Do you need Apple iPhone or Android devices? Is there an internal catalog we use? Is there a BYOD (bring your own device) policy that allows employees to use their personal devices?

Contract Components

The third critical element in telecom mobility services procurement is understanding the contractual aspects and negotiating favorable terms with telecom providers. Make sure to consider:

  • Customized rate plans. Check whether different classes of employees might require different usage plans with respect to voice and data. For example, managers and executives may require unlimited data plans, whereas for other employees, a limited data plan will suffice.
  • Plan/device incentives. Look into plan/equipment credits, which are often part of promotional offers or deals provided by wireless carriers to attract new customers or encourage existing customers to upgrade their devices.
  • Account level discounts. What are the discounts? What do they include? Is there a minimum annual commitment?
  • Sharing or pooling. Can data be shared with all employees? Pooling fees are a part of fixed monthly recurring fees, wherein voice minutes and data are priced for the entire group.
  • Early termination fee (ETF) waivers. These can result in huge savings if the organization needs to terminate or upgrade services due to employee relocation to a non-coverage area, turnover or other factors. With such waivers, organizations can usually get ETF waivers for 5 percent to 10 percent of the current active number of lines depending on volumes and company size.
  • Loyalty bonuses, which are often a fixed dollar amount per year for keeping above a certain number of lines with the carrier.
  • Employee personal plans. Understand plan discounts for personal lines for friends and family and how that can be offered as a value-add service to employees.

Effective procurement of telecom mobility services requires a comprehensive approach encompassing TEM, careful consideration of plan components, and diligent negotiation of contractual elements.

By leveraging insights from telecom invoices, aligning plan components with enterprise requirements, and negotiating favorable terms with telecom providers, organizations can optimize costs, enhance operational efficiency, and deliver superior communication experiences for their workforces and customers.

(Photo credit: Getty Images/Shapecharge)

About the Author

Jay Chauhan, MBA, PMP

About the Author

Jay Chauhan, MBA, PMP, is senior global sourcing manager, procurement consulting and services at IBM in Toronto.