Credit crunch telecoms

It’s easy to classify mobile phone contracts and subscriptions to broadband as unavoidable operating expenditure. But is this really the case? What savings are available and what’s the best way to attain these rates?

Shopping around for the cheapest deal is time consuming and making ‘like for like’ comparisons between networks and providers is notoriously difficult. And buying solely on price when reliable communication is the lifeblood of many commercial organisations is, in itself, fraught with peril.

There are however a couple of approaches that can really generate significant savings without compromising quality of service.

Firstly, differentiate between requirements that are variable and may differ substantially from month to month, as opposed to any ongoing provision that is absolutely necessary day-in-day-out.

If you employ temporary staff at certain times of the year, it makes no sense financially, to commit to 24 month mobile contracts for these people. Do you have key staff that travel abroad for business, or attend infrequent events and seminars? If so, then providing them with year-round mobile broadband access on their laptops or letting them ‘roam’ abroad on UK airtime won’t be remotely cost effective.

The answer here is to only rent the equipment and airtime as and when it’s needed, rather than commit to expensive and binding long term contracts. Voice and data solutions start at only £5 per week, there are no minimum call spends, no compulsory top ups and no onerous contractual obligations. And the call charges and airtime are discounted too, so it’s a winner from every perspective!

For the proportion of mobile spend that definitely warrants a contractual relationship, why not work with a Service Provider (SP) that deals with more than one network? In this way, you will get the best deal for your particular requirements from across the marketplace without having to put in any undue ‘legwork’. This approach is analogous to an independent financial advisor, who isn’t tied to a limited product range from a single institution and so can offer clients the best solution from multiple providers.

A common misconception in dealing with SPs is that there must be another ‘hidden’ margin and that it’s therefore more expensive than going to the network direct. This simply isn’t true. SPs employ far less staff than the networks and operate from much smaller premises, so their overheads are much less. SPs also receive connection bonuses from the networks for new business generated and these are often passed on, at least in part, to the customer. The overall result is very often a proposition that’s actually cheaper than the network equivalent!

Finally, once you’ve found the right balance between short-term renting and market-leading contracts, don’t forget about service provision. Choose and SP with dedicated, named account management and a good reputation for quality after-sales support. There shouldn’t be any incremental charges, but the reassurance this provides is as vital as any cost savings, if not more so.

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