As appeared in
no jitter, Insight for the Connected Enterprise
by Gary Audin,
July 19th 2012
Mobile Plans and
Rates: Keeping Up
New services and
plans are constantly being developed by mobile operators worldwide and multinational
enterprises need to continually monitor the landscape.
Mobile charges change
often enough in the U.S.; if your enterprise is international, the mobile plans
and rates change with such frequency in just about every country that those managing
mobile service contracts will never be able to keep up to date. What is the best
business plan and best consumer plan for BYOD in a particular country?
New services and
plans are constantly being developed by mobile operators worldwide, and enterprise
users (in particular, those with multinational operations) need to continually monitor
the mobile landscape. How do the enterprises doing international business ensure
that they receive the best value and services currently available? Most companies
lack the resources or expertise to follow the entire mobile industry and must instead
rely on third party experts to monitor it for them.
I interviewed Richard
Dorfman, the Managing Director at T3i Group, a diversified telecom information provider
that is the parent company of Tarifica, an international tariff information service.
He has overall responsibility for managing the company's pricing practice.
rates and plans for domestic and international mobile services. What is this market
Our service covers 183 mobile operators in 60 countries. We find that on average
each operator has a noteworthy change in rates and plans about every 90 days, sometimes
sooner. It is a continuously volatile environment. There are many business and consumer
plans, possibly dozens, to choose from in each country. The enterprise cannot assume
that the plans of one country are similar to those of even a neighboring country.
What changes occur?
We find that data plans/rates change more frequently than voice plans/rates. We
* Less service for
* More service for more cost
* Rarely more service for less cost unless it is associated with a limited-time
Why are there
constant changes in plans and rates?
Data usage continues to grow. More entertainment transmissions, more video, more
Internet access, and even the growth of VoIP all are pushing the capacity limits
of the mobile operators. The reactions by the mobile operators have been:
* Place a cap on
the data consumption
* Charge more for exceeding the cap
* Slowing the data rate when a cap is exceeded
All of these are
in reaction to the limited bandwidth available to the mobile operators. We also
find that there is strong competition in some regions that stimulates constant rate
and plan changes.
Where do most
of the changes occur?
We find the most volatile areas are in Asia, non-EU Europe and Latin America. That
does not mean that the rest of the world has long-term stable rates and plans. What
it does mean is that the rates and plans change in those locations less frequently.
What have enterprises
asked for in tariff reporting from you?
First and foremost, they look to us for insight and information regarding the rates
and plans offered in those countries in which they do business. This information
serves as 'ammunition' which can be used to get the best rates available, and most
appropriate plans, from their current operator. For those clients that purchase
one or both of our database products, they also want to be able to manipulate the
data contained therein. That is why we publish the information in Excel spreadsheets.
This allows the client to easily manipulate the data to suit its specific needs,
including running comparisons of the plans offered by various operators in a particular
How many rates
and plans can one mobile operator offer?
Let’s take one mobile operator, Austria Orange, and look at what they offer. Today,
there are 15 business plans and for the BYOD, 25 consumer plans. Each plan has voice
minutes, SMS, MMS and data services with varying allowed usage within the plan.
In France, Orange offers over 120 consumer plans which vary by device (Blackberry,
iPhone, etc.) and 98 business plans. On top of this are the rates for national and
international business and consumer call charges.
for Austria Orange Mobile Services
This is still
a lot of information to process. How can a customer handle this wealth of information?
We offer a customized alert service for multinational corporations. This service
matches the client's mobile providers against any changes we discover and then
alerts the client to inspect their plans and rates as soon as we learn of the changes.
This way the client does not have to review our Excel publications to determine
if they need to change their plans or move to another mobile provider. It represents
a simple, efficient, cost effective method for clients to stay on top of possible
opportunities to lower their monthly mobile costs, which for a large multinational
can translate into potentially substantial savings.
Tarifica, a unit
of T3i Group, has been providing telecom pricing information for close to four decades.
They maintain an in-depth and up-to-date pricing database, which includes mobile
and fixed line rates from providers in 68 countries, as well as historical data
going back to 1997. Tarifica subscribers include operators, regulators, enterprises
and consultants. Tarifica also produces reports, surveys and custom analyses for
clients in every region of the globe.
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