Roaming costs have always been a source of budget angst for organisations, but recent developments in mobility are exacerbating the problem. 4G and increasing use of mobile data services means users expect to be able to turn on their phone wherever they are and consume services, but when overseas this can be extremely expensive.
Whilst changes such as the new EU regulations make some significant difference, roaming costs in further-flung locations can still be very high, indeed TNC are seeing evidence that this is one area that, left unchallenged, is actually increasing in cost (perhaps in response to the enforced decreases in the EU). To address this, TNC’s research is showing organisations taking three main steps:
- Data pools
Instead of buying a volume of data per user, the organisation buys a pool which all users share. The idea is that, whilst some users may exceed their allocation, it is unlikely that all users will, meaning that total usage should always be below the threshold, and bill shock is therefore avoided. This approach is pretty effective at addressing the issue of data roaming costs, but there are challenges, including sizing the pool, tracking that it remains big enough with data usage increasing, whilst ensuring it isn’t too big so the organisation is paying for lots of data it isn’t using, driving up the effective cost per MB
- Flat rate data
As an alternative to data pools, flat rate data does exactly what it sounds like – a fixed price per MB for data anywhere in the world, with the organisation paying for what it uses. In theory this is the most efficient model, assuming the price per MB is competitive…
- Move away from bolt-ons
Underpinning the above trends is a move away from data bolt-ons. These are increasingly seen as an inefficient and ineffective way of managing data roaming costs because they tend to require a lot of proactive management to add them and remove them as users travel, and also because they have a tendency to be either very expensive per MB if the user doesn’t use a lot of the data, or prone to bill shock if the user uses too much data