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UK Businesses Squander Millions On Mobile Calls

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

UK businesses could potentially be wasting up to £264 million per annum on mobile call costs, due to staff failing to seek cheaper alternatives

New research has suggested that UK businesses are potentially wasting millions of pounds on mobile call costs, as the use of mobile handsets for business continues to rise.

So said ICT solutions and service provider Damovo UK, which used Vanson Bourne to survey 100 IT directors at British organisations with more than 1,000 staff.

The research has revealed that UK enterprises could potentially be wasting up to a whopping £264 million per annum on mobile call costs. Research data showed that on average large enterprises were spending £209,150 each year on mobile calls, with IT directors estimating that 42 percent of their staff’s mobile calls were being made from within the office.

“The most interesting aspect of the research was that we expected a high degree of use of mobile phones in offices, but the lack of attention paid to them by IT departments was most surprising,” said Glyn Owen, portfolio manager at Damovo UK.

Speaking to eWEEK Europe, Owen admitted that many people now view their mobile phones as a personal item, but with the dramatic uptake of smartphones, and their ability to tap into WiFi networks, there are now cheaper or free communication alternatives.

He cited a combination of dual-mode smartphones and enterprise fixed mobile convergence (FMC) solutions mobile handsets, which could operate as extensions of the corporate PBX with the same call costs and functionality as desk phones. However, despite most organisations having some form of Wi-Fi network, the research showed that only 14 percent were utilising Wi-Fi for voice calls.

“There is a maturation of several technologies happening at once,” said Owen. “This includes mobile phones, but also widely deployed Wi-Fi networks which gives staff the opportunity to leverage corporate networks within an organisation, or outside hotspots or home networks.” This would help many organisations tackle their escalating mobile bills Owen said.

“It is clear that organisations require greater control over their mobile costs whilst allowing end users the freedom to use their mobile phones wherever they chose,” said Owen. “This should form part of an overall mobility management strategy, including device, service and security management, which are ever-important for today’s mobile deployments.”

Owen pointed out nearly half (48 percent) of mobile calls are made by staff calling their fellow colleagues or the office. Therefore organisations should look to ensure that calls are being made using the most cost-effective method.

“There is a surprising amount of mobile calls when a fixed phone is available, but it seems that people prefer to use their mobile phone,” said Owen. However, it seems that many IT directors are unaware of the costs involved with mobile phone calls.

Many organisations, for example often receive mobile services from a number of service providers, which means that carrying out a full monthly analysis of mobile expenditure can be a time-consuming task. Over a third (37 percent) of the IT directors surveyed said that didn’t even look at their organisation’s mobile bill each month.

Meanwhile, just under three quarters (74 percent) admitted that they turned a blind eye towards employees making personal and international / premium rate calls on their work mobiles.