How to handle mobile phones at your company

Unreasonable prices, never-ending subscriptions, and mobile phones malfunctioning just in time for the new Iphone launch every single year – sound familiar? This is the everyday experience for many companies handling mobile telephony for their employees. But business mobiles doesn’t have to be a continuous struggle against budget – quite the opposite. With the right contract, scalable licenses, and a clear phone policy, you can cut data and calling costs while encouraging every employee to have greater responsibility for their mobile phone.


In this guide, we list some of the most common challenges for companies handling business mobiles and provide you with tips on how to handle subscriptions and modern smartphones the right way.

How do you handle staff mobile phones today?

Many companies with more than 15 employees have the custom of paying for both phones and mobile subscriptions for their office-based staff. In 9 out of 10 cases, a mobile phone is regarded as a working tool used daily within several different contexts and purposes. To provide employees with a business mobile is a necessity for many companies – but poses several challenges, not least regarding costs.

Never-ending subscription periods

Today, a mobile phone is as expensive as a computer, which means it’s a significant cost for companies with many employees. Just ten years ago you could buy a great phone for 2500 SEK – today’s newest smartphones cost over 10 000. Many companies regularly sign subscriptions for their employees where a mobile phone is included, since this often means they get a discount for the actual phones. Either the phone is included in the deal, or is paid as an additional fee on the subscription – a favourable option that doesn’t require large expenses at a certain time.

The challenge here, however, is that you commit to an unnecessarily long agreement. It’s not uncommon for binding periods to be 24 months! During these two years it is impossible to buy out the mobile phone in question. If the employee quits, goes on parental leave or changes role, both the subscription and their mobile phone will still be a part of this existing agreement. For small businesses, or companies with high staff turnover, this is a major problem.

Long binding periods also result in an irregularity for the different company subscriptions. For example, it will never be possible to exchange or upgrade all phones for a whole department, since everyone has started on different occasions and, therefore, have a varying amount of time left on their individual phone subscriptions.

Bring your own device – a problematic trend

A common solution for many companies is BOYD, the trend of bringing your own device to work. This is particularly common among smaller companies in the private sector. Using your own mobile phone with a business SIM card is undoubtedly considered a smooth solution, since the company doesn’t have to provide employees with expensive Iphones.

The problem is that the IT department, as well as the security aspect, is clearly affected by this – since you can’t control the phone or any tools or systems it’s using. No matter how much you’d like the employee to use your own tools to chat with colleagues, nothing is stopping them from rather communicating through Whatsapp, Slack, or Snapchat. And it’s not just the systems that are impossible to control – how the employee handle the phone could spell significant risks for the company.

3 risks when using private mobile phones at work

1. Business information can end up in the wrong hands

People usually feel that they are in control over their mobile phone – and see no problem with handling classified information, gathering all of their contacts and conducting business-critical conversations on their private phones. That is, until you give it to your kids to keep them calm in the backseat, it gets stolen in the subway, or you misplace it at the pub. Important annual reports have leaked this way, and companies have had to pay high fines for having an employee using their phone without a passcode.

2. You are never free from work

Another BYOD flaw, from the employee perspective, is that one can never be completely free from work. When your personal mobile number is handed out to both customers and suppliers, you can never know if it is the project manager for a current event, or your best friend who calls and wakes you up on Saturday morning.

3. Expensive upgrades

When an employee has to manage their mobile phone on their own, there are several cost related risks involved. A sales representative might persuade them to sign a new, seemingly more favourable deal where they’ll get the latest mobile phone. And thus – the company is stuck with a new subscription for another 2-3 years. When a company doesn’t have a policy on how to handle mobile phones, it is not uncommon for these things to happen.

The difference between company and private phone subscriptions

To provide employees with phones and mobile subscriptions can be a costly business for the company – even if you don’t have to deal with private mistakes. Most times, a company subscription is more expensive than a private one. When signing phone deals as a company, the provider often assumes that you have a greater demand for customer support. This means the provider is required to keep more people in customer service, longer opening hours, and advanced optional services and functions.

For private persons, on the other hand, the provider expects it to be sufficient for you to handle everything in their web portal – which means they can cut the cost for these subscriptions. Compare Comviq and Tele2, for example, they are the very same phone operator but with entirely different service and cost levels depending on the customer.

How to deal with mobile phones more effectively

Companies paying for staff mobile phones have both the rights and obligations to set certain demands for how they should actually be used – both at work and in everyday life. It’s very common to use your business phone privately as well, which assumes that there are guidelines and policies for this. Simultaneously, it’s necessary to review your current supplier and operator for telephony – this could be crucial for decisions regarding the mobile phones.

Here are four tips on how to get full control over your company’s mobile phones – and ensure that the employees are using them as planned!

1. Licenses instead of business subscriptions

Most traditional suppliers still just offer classic mobile subscriptions, which are connected to a certain person for a certain period of time. Other telephony providers, Telavox, for example, have developed a completely different way of buying and using business telephony. Our solution is based on flexible licenses instead of subscriptions, focusing on the number of users rather than the specific individuals. This means you can scale both up and down and distribute the licenses anyway you want between employees – whether they have a mobile phone, softphone, or a fixed number. Read more about our licenses here.

2. Establish (or update) your phone policy

A phone policy is perhaps the most important tool for facilitating the mobile phones within your company. For both administrators and employees, it’s an advantage to follow the same guidelines, as it helps the internal communication as well as dialogue with customers. A policy can describe both in detail what routines the PBX should have, how to work with IVR, and what specific mobile phones the staff should have.

” By regulating which models you should have, and clearly describing this in the telephone policy, you can save a lot of money on ”accidents”.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for employee phones to break just as a new Iphone is being released. Everyone wantswant the newest technology and knowsknow the company’s paying – so why not? By regulating which models you should have, and clearly describing this in the telephone policy, you can save a lot of money on “accidents”.

3. Separate hardware from software

An important thing the company should agree on is the difference between the physical mobile phone and the telephony solution itself. Do not sign long-term contracts to get a cheap subscription – it’s not a sustainable choice in the long run. Instead, make sure you establish routines and only buy phones when you actually need them. Consider mobile phones as an IT purchase, and the telephony solution as an overall communication tool for the entire company. This way, it will be easier to avoid mistakes.

4. Decide who signs agreements

Another tip is to define who can sign deals for purchasing mobile phones and phone subscriptions. By appointing the IT manager or purchasing manager as the decision maker for which systems and mobiles should be part of your business, you minimise the risk of employees signing new deals or buying mobile phones on their own.

5. Have employees officially receive and register their phone

Since a smartphone can be more expensive than a laptop these days, it’s important that every employee understands what this truly means. By having everyone officially accept and put their signature as proof of understanding that the phone should be used for two years straight, you will convey the message that a mobile phone is an important work tool and something that should be treated carefully.

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