5 Things to Know When Selecting a Mobile Provider for Your Business

It’s often difficult to get people to agree on anything anymore, especially regarding technology. Everyone has an opinion about which is better, an iPhone or Android, PC or Mac — but we can all agree on one thing. A mobile phone is an essential part of our business. According to Vernard Martin, senior systems administrator for the Center for Comprehensive Informatics at Emory University in Atlanta, a cell phone is one of the top five vital tools for any business. A simple missed call or text, a dropped call, or problems accessing a website can potentially cost a company thousands (or even millions) of dollars in lost business.

Telecom providers will often try to attract you with humorous or sexy commercials and an endless array of new handsets with new features we never knew we needed. Your decision on which of the countless mobile providers to partner with will undoubtedly make a huge difference to your bottom line in a number of ways. Fortunately, with a little research, the choice doesn’t have to be that complicated. Here are five things you should know when selecting a mobile provider for your business.

Shop Around

The best way to select a mobile phone service provider is by comparing the carriers available in your immediate area. Select at least three service providers and compare their available plans, network coverage, services, warranties, prepaid plans, and types of networks they use.

Local or National Provider

If your business operations tend to take place mainly in your local or regional area, consider choosing a smaller local service provider. Local mobile service providers usually charge lower rates on voice and data packages and typically offer more personalized service. Bigger is not always better, and the rule definitely applies to telecom service providers.

Review Coverage

Mobile provider

Image via Flickr by Anders Adermark

Check and compare the coverage maps very carefully. Coverage area maps are generally accessible on every mobile carrier’s website. Remember to review not only your local region but the coverage in other areas where you might conduct business. If the map shows a strong presence in your local area, but coverage is lacking in cities where you’ll potentially be spending a lot of time with clients, it’s probably best to pass. Not only would you receive spotty service, but your company might have to pay roaming charges for both calls and data, which can push your cell phone bill out of control.

Consider Security

If you typically use smartphones to access any type of sensitive data while in the field, security should be an important consideration when comparing providers. Make sure your chosen mobile service provider allows you the ability to exercise control over the equipment. You should be able to trigger a quick wipe of any business cell phone in the event the device gets lost or stolen, or if the person leaves the company. Protecting your data at all times is crucial.

Choose a Plan

Mobile service providers offer a wide array of plans for business use, including bundles of voice minutes, data, texts, and emails, but most providers require at least five lines of service to open a business account. Always start with the datasheet provided by the carrier which gives you a snapshot comparison of the price, number of minutes, and gigabytes of data allowances in each plan. Narrow it down to a couple of plans that appear to meet the needs of your company and then dig deeper. Read the fine print to check for extra fees and overage charges. A low-cost plan may not be worth it in the long run if you constantly incur huge overage fees.

While the pricing described is clearly provided in black and white on the datasheet, there still might be some room to negotiate the price down with the service provider on both the plan and the equipment. It sure doesn’t hurt to ask. Over time, if you realize your company is using more or less data than you anticipated, call the vendor and renegotiate. Most will adjust your plan accordingly to give you a better deal.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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