Mobile data costs rise as employees carry more devices

Businesses are spending $96 per month on data for mobile employees, according to a new report.
Written by Sam Shead, Contributor

Businesses spend on average $96 a month on mobile data for each employee, according to a new report.

A survey by wi-fi network provider iPass found that the majority of respondents expected their 3G and 4G mobile data costs to increase this year as they support more devices per user. The report shows the number of mobile devices in the workplace is increasing with the introduction of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.

IT managers are finding it hard to control data roaming costs as mobility budgets are increasingly being managed by other departments, said iPass chief technology officer Barbara Nelson.

The report found that only 48 percent of IT departments are responsible for overseeing spending on mobile devices, down from 52 percent last year. It revealed that mobility is being managed by business units in 22 percent of companies and finance in 18 percent of companies.  

Of the IT executives surveyed, 68 percent expected their overall mobility costs to increase in the next 12 months due to an increasing number of mobile users and a rise in the number of devices each employee is bringing to the workplace.

The report found 57 percent of respondents believe their mobile data costs will rise in the next year because of increased smartphone usage, with eight percent of those surveyed saying they expect mobile data costs to rise more than 25 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of tablet devices in the workplace grew across all non-executive departments between 2011 and 2012. Legal and HR saw an increase in tablet usage of 14 percent year-over-year, followed by finance and accounting, which had a 13-percent rise over the same time period. 

Rise of BYOD

The rise of BYOD also means there are an increasing number of mobile platforms that IT departments have to cater for. However, the report found that only 34 percent of IT managers said they plan to support BlackBerry 10, compared to 45 percent who plan to support Windows 8. 

Company policies around BYOD have been relaxed over the last 12 months by 56 percent of companies, with 81 percent of firms now accommodating personal devices in the office. 

Certain businesses have been slow to adopt BYOD strategies because of security risks and indeed 55 percent of the companies surveyed reported some sort of security issue over the past year, primarily around lost or stolen phones.

iPass worked with Mobilelron to poll 477 IT executives worldwide in the survey.

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