This week, one of the largest cell phone providers in the universe, Verizon, has taken the leap the and is ditching its annual contract model. They report that all Verizon customers will be moved to a pay-as-you-go model at the end of their current contract. For many this is a sigh of relief with dollar signs of savings dancing in their heads. For others, like those on the front lines of the IT service desk, it requires a bigger look into how this will affect the mobile devices that users bring into an organization under a BYOD policy.
But before the IT team and leadership scramble to update the BYOD policy and strategy, here are the basics on these contract changes and how the service desk can guide the device purchase process under this new model.
Not all mobile devices will be serviced by the IT service desk.
It’s important to have a strategy in place that includes the devices that you will be able to service. With new contracts, users will be tempted to try something new, opening doors to numerous possibilities outside of the iPhone. The service desk will need to detail which devices they can help maintain and which will have to be serviced outside of the organization.
You have always paid for the phone, it was just subsidized.
Every few months there’s a new model that you just have to have, whether it’s the iPhone 6, the Galaxy S6, or the other latest and greatest 6. In the past, users have “upgraded” to the new model at or around $200 with a new contract. Now, they will pay the full cost of the phone upfront or it will be spread out into monthly installments. The glitz and glamor of a cell phone may not be worth the upfront costs.
Know how much data is needed up front.
If a cell phone or tablet is the primary method of communication, remote users will need to have a detailed understanding of how much data they require. The new packages are just like shopping for clothes – do you want small, medium or large? If they go over data, it will cost a pretty penny. Encourage users to look back at past statements to get a sense of how much they have used on average and purchase their new plan accordingly. The last thing anyone wants is to be remote with data overages. (And, haven’t we all been there already?)
Just because it’s the biggest carrier, doesn’t mean it’s the best for the wallet.
It’s easy to get caught up with the big guys like AT&T and Verizon considering they are there every commercial break. But, consider using this as an opportunity to shop around for the best pricing on devices and data. T-Mobile, for example, has been under the pay-as-you-go model for years. But, there are even smaller carriers that buy capacity from the big guys, so service should be the same or at least similar. These carriers have more leverage to work with you to offer better bulk deals and customer service.
Carrier contracts aren’t going to disappear overnight, so there is time to shop around and guide users toward the best option for your organization’s BYOD policy. You could end up with a better deal at the cell phone store…just maybe.