by Kevin Whitehurst
Negotiating with mobile carriers can be difficult, especially if wireless is not your area of expertise. However, much of the worry and unknown associated with these negotiations can be mitigated by preparing yourself with just a few talking points. While the priorities of your organization will be different from the next, the main points of any carrier negotiation are often the same. Here are a few tips to get you and your colleagues talking before you get on the phone with the carrier.
Focus on Data
Smartphone sales now account for more than 87% of device shipments. Thanks to 4G LTE, devices are pulling down data 10 times faster than just a few years ago. Carriers are already exploring expansion options to LTE-Advanced, which will boost speeds by another factor of 10. It should come as no surprise then that data rates are at the forefront of most carrier negotiations. According to our company database, average data use has increased by nearly 340% in the last 3 years. Unlimited data plans are few and far between these days, so it is important to negotiate now to save on data costs later.
If your workforce travels frequently overseas, it is essential that you negotiate international voice, text, and data rates into your service contract. Carriers make a lot of margin on international rates, leaving plenty to be negotiated out of your final bill. Are there a few countries that you travel to on a regular basis? It is also possible to negotiate special rates for specific countries. Evaluate your travel tendencies and determine whether or not this is something worth bringing up with your service provider.
Consider switching carriers
Carriers are most willing to negotiate when you are a new customer, so consider moving from your current carrier, or consolidating lines to one primary carrier. Alternately, your current carrier might be more willing to renegotiate a better deal, if they know you are considering switching to a competitor. Carriers are very motivated by line count, and often bend over backwards to keep your organization and its many employees from switching to their competitor.
Negotiate for Change
No matter the amount of preparation, you will inevitably experience what some people call ‘bill shock.’ Maybe one of your employees went on a short trip to Canada, not realizing he or she would need to add international features to their line. Standard per-use rates for international data are often in excess of $20 per megabyte. At rates like that, even what is considered to be light data use can quickly become very expensive. Negotiate the ability to backdate changes to the beginning of the billing cycle, and to allow a certain amount of ‘courtesy credits’ to relieve bill shock.
Founded in 2000, mindWireless is the largest wireless telecom expense management provider with great experience offering Expense Management, Billing Optimization, Branded Help Desk, as well as Strategic Wireless Consulting. Contact us today to start a conversation about how we and our industry-leading suite of TEM solutions can address your company’s mobility needs.