Myth: Mobile Data Share Pools are Virtually Unlimited
It’s a myth to believe that your business Mobile Data shared pool (sometimes called a bucket plan) is so huge, often measured in terabytes, that you’ll never run into excess data problems. Traditional emails and web browsing don’t present a problem, but the exploding consumption of cloud, video, gaming & social applications are very likely to become cost issues in the future.
Finance departments understand that telecoms, particularly mobiles expenses, account for the top five (5) company expenses for a typical businesses. Hence, control & visibility of mobile expense has become a very relevant focus area for CFOs and finance departments.
No doubt, the mobile data share plan is a good idea and has provided a safety net for excess mobile data usage, guarding against bill shock. But unless managed closely, even a seemingly virtually unlimited shared pool can run away and leave the company exposed. Let’s consider a few aspects of this myth.
- Mobile Cloud Traffic Growth. To take one country as an example, Australia’s love affair with mobile internet downloads was highlighted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, revealing phone data use had almost doubled in the past year, up 97 per cent by June 2014. Specifically, mobile cloud applications, including video and audio streaming, online gaming, social networking and online storage, today account for more than 80% of total mobile data traffic in Australia and are likely to grow to 90% in the next few years. Incidentally, the recently released IOS8 is also based on a mobile cloud architecture.
Source: International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 2014.
- Video Streaming is particularly bandwidth hungry. The combination of amazing user experience on smartphone devices and high speed mobile broadband (via 4G-LTE) has driven video streaming traffic (such as YouTube and Vimeo) to account for more than 50% of all mobile data traffic, globally. This trend is likely to reach 70% by 2018.
- Telcos are slashing mobile data allowances. Despite the skyrocketing demand, Australia’s carriers are reducing the data allowance in their deals. Over the past few years, the consumer plans available in the market have seen many mobile data allowances reduced, sometimes slashed by half. There is no doubt carriers are looking to control their mobile data profits by reigning in allowances, which were perhaps too generous in the past. This trend is being extended into the business market too, In short, Mobile Data allowances are shrinking and given the increase in traffic for mobile cloud applications, this will ultimately increase cost for businesses.
- Commercial leverage with carriers –It’s a myth to think telcos just throw in huge shared mobile data pools. The truth is, businesses are most likely over paying for spare capacity they don’t need but which is required as a safety net to prevent run-away mobile data costs. However, imagine the commercial leverage a business would have, especially when negotiating a new Telco deal, if it possessed the capability of control and visibility of the mobile data consumption of their entire mobile fleet, with granular visibility per user and by application (such as YouTube video streaming, for example).
- International Roaming charges are always excluded from domestic mobile data share pools. Even though the International Roaming charges have reduced by a factor of ten in the last 12 months, they still generate bill shock, with bills that can run into thousands of dollars. It’s no surprise that individual users with the highest mobiles bills generally have a significant international data roaming component. An International Roaming strategy is vital to control costs.
- Fragmented Accounts – The devil is in the detail! One of the biggest gotchas with Share mobile data pools is that plans only apply within a given Account. That is, inter-Account sharing is not allowed by carriers. Rigorous analysis will surprise many businesses, given most have multiple or even dozens of accounts, especially larger enterprises or government agencies with multiple business units. Hence, the share pool is usually fragmented and may not yield the safety net expected.
Smartbill’s Mobile Fleet Console (MFC) delivers near Real-Time Control, Visibility & Analytics for a corporate mobile fleet’s broadband usage, to ensure optimized mobile data charges. This is critical with the exploding usage growth of upcoming smartphone cloud-based mobile applications, particularly video streaming.