Warm weather and unexpected roaming charges seem to go hand in hand. With a company handset in the beach bag, how can companies avoid getting burned by summer bill shock?
With Summer’s arrival, thoughts turn to travels abroad. Amongst the essentials in many carry-ons will be employer owned smart phones and tablets. In our always-connected world, employees are expected to stay ‘reachable’ on holiday.
Where mobile devices are concerned, personal and professional often blur and the lazy days of July and August can inadvertently amplify the effect. That means mobile managers now face a sharp seasonal uptick in data bills from employees on annual leave — whether absent-mindedly searching for restaurants on the move, ‘content snacking’ on short videos, checking email, using Google maps for directions or just switching on data roaming to allow apps to update continuously in the background.

Evidence of the issue is pretty clear on the consumer side. A survey by uSwitch.com in May found that 15% of UK mobile handset users returned from Summer holiday last year to find a hefty phone bill as a result of their phone use abroad – costing consumers more than £256m ($329m) in unplanned usage. This was partly down to confusion over which tariffs applied where.
No clear measurements have been taken from the enterprise side but we estimate that unplanned corporate data usage from personal travel will be a significant multiple on consumer. It’s just human nature to be less diligent about costs when someone else is footing the bill. Mobility managers may take comfort from the broader trend to bring tariffs down, however overall data usage is going up.
Your bills at the end of August are likely to be steep so steps need to be taken now. Simply clamping down, imposing bans or trying to recoup losses from employees after the fact are all recipes for conflict and ill feeling. Educating employees and having a clear policy for data roaming and acceptable use when travelling abroad for personal reasons are the best place to start.
To really ensure that you don’t get burned by bill shock, have a centrally managed mobile data roaming policy in place. This allows you to set a maximum data usage limit per day, block un-productive websites and compress data so your corporate plan goes further. The right solution will have automatic roaming detection which switches on as soon as employees land.
Think of MDO as sunscreen for your data bills. Sign up to Wandera for free, deploy it to your employees’ mobile devices, and ensure they are protected against roaming bill shock during their summer vacation.
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