Most of us have felt the pain of roaming charges. You get back from a productive business trip abroad, patting yourself on the back for accomplishing everything you set out to do without any travel hiccups – then you open that monthly cell phone bill and find out how much it really cost you.

The often exorbitant fees are an issue that everyone loves to hate, especially IT managers whose budgets can be eviscerated by roaming charges. According to research firm Gartner Inc., some large companies spend over $20 million annually on roaming charges alone!

The advent of 4G technology means that roaming fees are going to remain a real challenge for businesses of all sizes for the foreseeable future. Faster mobile data downloads mean the bills can add up faster too.

What is to be done?

Analysis is the key. In this instance firms must look at billing and usage patterns to stanch the flow of wasted money. That is sometimes a Herculean task.

However, we believe that managing roaming boils down to asking the right questions. Here are 7 questions that will help you manage roaming charges:

  1. Do roaming costs originate from voice or data usage? As you know, there’s a difference! Knowing where the costs are coming from is key to designing policies that can change behaviours.
  1. Are roaming charges generated by users travelling to a specific country or region and using devices that originate there? If you’ve got a massive new client in South America and charges are mostly coming from there, you can take specific steps to manage the issue. For example, you could set up a local line for use in the foreign country or secure a plan with your carrier that covers roaming specifically at your destination.
  1. What are the reasons for the high roaming charges from a certain group within the organization? Again, knowledge is power and the basis for good policy design and management. Educating your employees in how to properly use the devices can also be a key element to reducing roaming charges. After all, users might just not know that they are roaming (or might not care).
  1. Are the roaming charges coming from users who have a particular  job function or who use a certain type of application? Clearly some positions within an organization are more prone to generating big roaming fees. But, if these fees are due to excessive use of one specific (type of) application you may be able to find an alternative that is far less costly.
  1. Are users with specific types of devices generating higher spend? If a certain type of device is the culprit speak to your carrier and switch things up.
  1. What is the total consumption by month/user? This is a pretty obvious question, but essential nonetheless.
  1. What is the average consumption by month/user? Knowing the average will help isolate those who are off the bell curve.

Managing roaming charges is going to become increasingly important in the next few years. There’s no doubt that connecting the data, and clarifying it so that managers can take back control will be key to saving money on these costly fees.

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