Global data roaming costs sink iPhone 3G use for enterprises
One company holds off on purchases in hopes that AT&T roaming costs go down
Computerworld - Apple Inc.'s iPhone 3G has a powerful browser and faster wireless connections to all kinds of data and multimedia, but those features may be too much of a good thing for international business travelers paying data roaming rates.
One U.S.-based manufacturing company with global operations would like to deploy hundreds of iPhone 3Gs but has found that international data roaming costs are too high, said an IT worker at the company who asked not to be named, citing company policies.
The manufacturer's finance department has put a ban on company purchases of the iPhone 3G because the international data roaming plan for the phone's exclusive carrier in the U.S., AT&T Inc., is too expensive, he said. The company is in talks with AT&T to get a better price for the service.
"Until we have an international data rate plan that isn't extortion, we're holding off deployment of iPhone 3G," said the IT manager. "IPhone sucks down data like no tomorrow."
With the first-generation iPhone, the IT manager said, several executives traveled abroad and encountered "psycho-expensive" data rate costs. One executive spent three days in Canada and incurred an $800 data roaming cost, while another spent two weeks in Italy and racked up $5,000 in costs.
The IT manager said he is asking AT&T to cut its international data roaming fee to one-tenth of its current rate, from about 2 cents per kilobyte to 0.2 cents per kilobyte.
"I realize that's an order-of-magnitude reduction, but that's what's necessary to make this device succeed for any kind of international uptick," he said. So far, however, AT&T has told the manufacturer to "lump it or leave it," the IT manager said.
An AT&T spokesman said he could not discuss an individual company's plan, although he said AT&T enters into contracts with large customers based on negotiated rates. However, AT&T has implemented some special international data plans for iPhone customers, recognizing "that the iPhone consumes data and that it is worse outside the U.S.," said the spokesman, Mark Siegel.
Siegel said he could not say whether many customers have complained about international data roaming costs with the iPhone 3G. However, he warned customers traveling abroad with iPhone 3G devices to be prepared for the high data usage and the cost of using a network in a foreign country under a roaming agreement.
"If customers have not thought about data use abroad, we have a whole array of tips on how to avoid added costs," he said, referring to the AT&T Web page on international calling.
Analysts said the manufacturer seeking lower roaming rates could be somewhat unusual because its sales personnel travel extensively to many countries. In many companies, however, sales personnel will stay in a single country, which would lower their data roaming costs, analysts noted.
- Assessing ROI for Mobile Acceleration Clients This EMA® paper examines the business case for deploying mobile WAN optimization client software and builds a ROI model based on the experiences...
- The Apple-ization of the Enterprise: Understanding IT's New World Read this paper for how to tackle Apple-ization (and the related consumerization of IT and Bring Your Own Device/BYOD).
- A Practical Introduction to Enterprise Mobility Management Read the white paper to better understand the basic concepts within mobility management and to learn how you can apply EMM technology to...
- Enterprise Mobility: A Checklist for Secure Containerization The advantages and disadvantages of the multiple approaches to containerization. Learn More>>
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Mobile Security: Containerizing Enterprise Data In this on-demand webinar, Fixmo's Lee Cocking, VP of corporate strategy, explains why Apple-ization trends like mobility and "bring-your-own-device" (BYOD) are driving the... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!