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With Christmas approaching I wanted to offer some advice on managing your companies’ mobile phone data usage. This is especially important while some offices are closed over the holiday period. Staff may or may not be working over the Christmas break and may well have access to WiFi, it would be easy not to consider some of the potential pitfalls of high mobile data usage that may occur. Now is the perfect time to have a think about what the pitfalls are and how you can mitigate the potentially high additional costs that could be incurred.

First of all, I believe it is essential that every smart phone user has a data counter app. Many handsets have these built in but for those that don’t there are many choices available. I don’t recommend a specific one but have lots of people who have suggested that “My Data manager” (Google Play Link Apple iTunes Link)is a good option that is free. It lets users set daily and monthly data alerts as well as tracking what apps are using the data. I strongly recommend that you ask all smart phone users within your business to download a data counter app as soon as possible. Data allowances are available monthly so nice easy to set up!

Data used over your inclusive allowance is chargeable so has the potential to become expensive quite quickly. For example, video / TV streaming including services such as YouTube can use more than 1GB per hour in HD mode. This can cost anywhere from £20 and £500 per GB depending on the network and the package. Please bear this in mind, I saw one user who inadvertently used 17GB more than their normal monthly allowance in November. You can see from the afore mentioned costs how their bill would be considerably more than expected.

This link to one of our previous blogs can help give you an idea of what services use data and how much explaining mobile data limits Please do consider that different mobile phone apps usage can be varied and add to this significantly.

Below are some usage tips to avoid bill shock.

  • Make sure all of your staff with smart phones download a data manager app and set it up correctly
  • Be aware that by giving a device to a family member (such as a child) can result in high data usage without the user being aware (long car journeys, playing games, social media, etc). One common problem we hear all the time, is a child has gotten hold of a parents work phone and downloaded chargeable app or apps that have in game purchases. Some of these charges can run into thousand of pounds.
  • Turn off WiFi assist (iOS 9 device instructions here) or the Android equivalent. This is where the device uses mobile data if it is quicker than the WiFi service (without telling you).

You would be amazed how many companies and individuals get hit with large bills for data usage and are told by the person responsible (aka the user), “I didn’t know!” or “it wasn’t me!”.

As the holidays cover the end of the month, this is the time that data usage will need to be monitored by the users the most. As network and office support services will generally be closed, it is important the users are informed and made responsible for their own devices and usage.

Downloading and using a 3rd party app is the key part of this message, doing so will enable the device user to monitor and manage their own data. They are then able to be responsible for their usage and usage by anyone else on their device. Hopefully leaving you less likely to receive unexpectedly large mobile phones bills.

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By Tom Blumsom
Advanced Solutions Manager
Lister Unified Communications

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