Travelling with a company phone – how does it work?

Today, almost everyone brings their company mobile abroad – whether they’re on a two-day business trip to Austria or a three-week vacation in Thailand. However, failing to keep track of the mobile phones could come at a high price. Here are some tips on how to have better control over the business phones, and why you need to pay a little extra attention to data and call costs.

Only ten years ago, people could not be as carefree when using their mobile phone abroad as we are today. In 2017 came the roaming regulation which means that you can travel anywhere in the EU and use your phone at the same rate as in Sweden. If you are in Germany on a business trip, it is as easy to talk to colleagues in Munich as to those in Malmö. Bringing your business phone abroad today is no problem at all – as long as you stay within the EU. In other countries, however, it is important to pay attention to local conditions.

Varying rates and different preconditions

There are countries outside the EU that have different rules and operators that are not like the ones we are used to. In some cases it can be extremely expensive to use your phone at all – whether you’re on the Internet or only receiving calls. Just answering your phone in New Zealand, for example, could cost you a minimum of 10 SEK. That’s why it’s necessary to be aware of the rates and other guidelines that might apply in the particular country you are visiting – it can be considerably more expensive than expected!

Better reception abroad than at home

Although the prices outside the EU vary, it’s usually pretty straightforward to use your phone as usual. The reception is mostly excellent, and the sound as well. When entering a new country, all its different operators are fighting for you. Getting tourists and business travellers to use their particular network is important – which means that the operators put a lot of effort into carrying your calls and data. This means you often have a better and faster connection when visiting a country outside the EU than within its borders.

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How to achieve control over business phones abroad

Most companies have a phone policy that describes how frequently travelling employees should handle their phones. Even better is to have a telephony supplier that can help regulate these things. It’s common to have a restriction for data where the employee can use their phone only up to a certain amount, say 50 euros, when travelling abroad. After this, they need to actively buy more data to use the Internet. This is a good way of avoiding getting an expensive surprise when the invoice arrives.

Companies that use a cloud based IP telephony solution get additional benefits that can minimise large costs outside of the EU. By having a policy determining how and when to use a mobile phone abroad, you can regulate so that, for example, every outgoing call only should be made through the mobile app and via the Internet – since these calls are completely free of charge.

Find out more: Time to update your telephone policy? Here's how!

Control access depending on who’s travelling

When you’re in charge of the company telephony, it’s important to state who is allowed to use their mobile phone abroad and have clear guidelines for this. With a good telephony solution, you can control each mobile subscription separately and grant access by role or area of use. An employee working in IT support should perhaps not be able to use their business mobile during a vacation in Sri Lanka, for example. Regard your specific user patterns and figure out who should have access to what.

There may be 5-10 employees who travel regularly outside the EU, perhaps usually to the same region. By analysing what countries people visit the most, you can find a solution that best meets certain employees’ needs – without being too expensive. Is a seller going to be located in Beijing for three months? For this, a different type of solution is likely to be required than if a manager goes on a shopping trip to London for a week.

Electronic SIM cards are perfect for regular trips

For people who often travel to the same countries, you can also combine their SIM card with an electronic one that can be switched on and off. Most times, there are operators who are great at roaming in certain countries, with cheaper services for calls and data than you can get from your usual telephony supplier. Using an electronic SIM from a certain operator, you can therefore keep your costs down abroad, while at the same time continue to use your company's chosen solution at home. A bonus is that the employee doesn’t have to fidget with physical SIM cards every time!

Want to know how to best help employees use their mobile phones and work more effectively towards customers? In the guide "How to handle mobile phones at your company" you’ll find our best tips.

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