Keeping Ahead of the Wireless Pricing Curve
The impact of BYOD
The final trend that cannot be ignored in 2013 is the rise of Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD. Whether or not BYOD drives cost savings is hotly debated, but one non-debatable effect of the phenomenon is a blurring of the line between corporate-liable lines of service (i.e. lines the company orders and contracts for) and personal-liable lines (for which an individual signs a personal contract, regardless of whether or not they recover the cost from their company).
There have always been users who expense their personal-liable lines, but BYOD appears to be making this more acceptable, rather than an acknowledged bad practice that should be avoided. One reason why allowing users to expense personal liable lines is bad practice is that the rate plans available to personal liable users are substantially more expensive than the rate plans available to corporate liable users. Hence the general rule that if the company is ultimately paying the bill, a line should be corporate-liable, not personal-liable.
With the growth of interest in BYOD, some carriers are starting to offer a middle ground, with rate plans that are offered at price points normally only available to corporate liable users, now being offered to personal liable users as long as such users are part of the enterprise's BYOD program (e.g. authorized to access enterprise applications via the wireless device in question). There are other issues associated with personal-liable plans versus corporate-liable plans (for example, data or voice sharing/pooling does not work with personal-liable plans), but the many different manifestations of BYOD are not going away, and pricing constructs specifically designed for BYOD present another area where 2013 is likely to bring significant further developments.
Staying at the forefront of wireless pricing trends requires revisiting your wireless contracts and pricing frequently, and keeping contracts as short and flexible as possible. It is not necessary to wait until a contract is close to expiring to negotiate new pricing and plans. Proactive, informed negotiation, coupled with regular competitive procurements, is the best way to keep ahead of the wireless pricing curve.
Ben Fox is a Managing Director at TechCaliber Consulting, LLC, a global technology and telecom consultancy that advises the world's largest companies on strategies for reducing their costs for telecom and technology products and services. Ben can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.