The new iPad’s LTE option offers a lot of potential for mobile professionals, particularly the Verizon version because it will support the iOS personal hotspot feature. The plans available from both AT&T and Verizon are pretty much in line with the previous iPad 3G plans for individual customers.
While plans for individuals are fairly straightforward, the options for business can be much murkier. Both carriers offer business plans and bundles, but no two businesses have the same needs or mix of devices. If your business is considering new iPads with LTE, you’ll want to sit down with your account rep to get the details about what options you have and possibly negotiate with them to get the best deal – but doing a thorough review of your existing mobile plans first can put you in the driver’s seat during those negotiations and save your company a ton of money.
It’s always a good idea to go into meetings like that with as much information about your current use as well as your anticipated usage for new devices or services. That gives you more negotiating power and it can help you trim some expenses while adding new services to avoid, or at least reduce, sticker shock.
If you’re already gathering that information, it may be a good time to do a thorough review of your telecom expenses as a whole – or at least your mobile expenses.
Taking a good detailed look at what you’re paying for and what your employees are actually using will almost always result in finding ways that you can save money. It might in the number of minutes that some employees use is out of proportion to the number that you’re paying for. It could be that certain executives aren’t coming close to using the amount of data for the data plan associated with their devices (or worse, they’re exceeding it significantly and you’re being charged overages).
This is certainly a job that needs the cooperation of both IT and finance. It can also be a tedious effort, but one that often will pay off in both savings and in building a relationship between IT and finance. It demonstrates that although CIOs or IT directors often need to make large expenditures, there is an understanding of costs and an effort to minimize them.
It can also be worth hiring a telecom expense management firm to help you sort through your actual usage and make suggestions. Often these firms are more familiar with the options available from carriers and can negotiate contracts with your carrier(s) for you to ensure that you aren’t paying for more than you need or getting charged with avoidable overages.
Some mobile management vendors (Tangoe and Amtel, for example) offer expense management services. Even if your mobile management vendor doesn’t, you can often tease usage data about smartphones and tablets out of the monitoring and reporting capabilities that MDM products include.
If you’re looking at the expense of several LTE iPads, doing this legwork can easily pay off big time. The resulting information can also be a rationale for making changes to your mobile policies and programs. You might even find out that LTE iPads aren’t as cost effective as Wi-Fi models with a handful of 4G/LTE personal hotspot devices.