IT execs predict big rise in mobile data costs this year

Almost 60 percent of senior IT executives believe their firm's mobile data charges will increase this year through wider smartphone and tablet use, with some predicting a 25 percent increase in charges.

Research among 477 IT executives worldwide found that IT departments are concerned about rising mobility costs and demanding challenges as a result of bring your own device (BYOD) strategies.

The majority of respondents (57 percent) thought their mobile data roaming costs would rise in 2013, with 8 percent saying they'll rise more than 25 percent.

BYOD is creating new challenges for IT. The top two sources of frustration were onboarding and then supporting the increasing number and variety of personal devices, far outranking even security concerns.

The survey also found that IT is increasingly losing control of mobility budgets as departments assume greater responsibility for mobile initiatives.

The number of enterprises in which IT manages the mobility spend has dropped to 48 percent, down from 53 percent in 2011. Now, 40 percent of companies' mobility budgets are managed by non-IT departments.

The research was conducted by enterprise WiFi firm iPass and mobile device management firm MobileIron. Barbara Nelson, chief technology officer at iPass, said: "IT is charged with implementing solutions to boost employee productivity and BYOD does that.

"As more personal mobile devices with multiple platforms and operating systems are used for work IT managers are challenged to safeguard corporate data and keep roaming costs low. But when mobility budgets are managed by departments other than IT, data roaming costs can be hard to control."

When asked about rising data costs, 44 percent of IT managers said the growing number of devices per mobile worker was a factor, and 41 percent highlighted pricey 3G (and 4G) data plans. In addition 22 percent pointed to an increase in the number of mobile workers as another factor.

On average, IT departments spend $96 (£61) a month on data fees alone for each mobile worker.

The survey also found that IT departments are more bullish about Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 handsets than on the new BlackBerry 10 phones.

Both device lines are designed to appeal to the enterprise, as well as consumers. However, only 34 percent of IT managers plan to support BlackBerry 10, compared to 45 percent who plan to support Windows Phone 8 devices.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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