Ontario’s Ban on Handheld Phones in Cars Starts October 26th – Let Us Help You with Our Bluetooth Special!

Mark October 26th, 2009 on your calendar, because that’s the date where you’ll no longer be able to use a handheld mobile phone in your car. This will have a major impact if your sales and service staff or other personnel are expected to keep in touch on the road. They need the tools to talk to you without breaking the law.

Fortunately, our ClientCare procurement staff has picked hardware that will help you switch to hands free calling (which is still permitted) while keeping your costs down. This is the kind of Cellular customer service we routinely offer to our clients. The law represents such a big shift that we’d like to share our advice with the public, along with a special offer.

To help you update your mobile fleet we’re offering a special price of $39.95 on the following headsets:

  • Motorola H500

MotorolaH500

  • Nokia b101

NokiaB101

  • Samsung wep450

Samsung WEP450

We’re also offering the Samsung HKT450 Visor Mount for just $69.99

Samsung Visor

This offer expires on December 6th, 2009

This is a small part of our procurement services. ClientCare can help you perform virtually any upgrade within your budget, and we provide ongoing tech support for all of the hardware we manage. Call us to get started – and drive safely!

How to Transfer Cell Phone Ownership

Canceling your cell phone before your cell phone plan’s term is up it can get very expensive. Most carriers’ cancellation fees are calculated at around $20.00 per month remaining on your contract — and in some cases, there’s no cap.

If you know someone that willing to take over your mobile plan’s term, transferring your contract is a fairly pain-free process that will allow you to avoid paying a cancellation fee. At the consumer and small business level, many mobile users don’t even know this is possible, but it’s a great way for the average person to do some personal, mobile cost reduction.

It usually just takes a quick call to your carrier. Call your carrier’s customer service line and ask for a note to be placed on your account that authorizes the person who’s agreed to carry the rest of your term to take possession. Next, the other party calls your carrier to confirm that they are indeed taking over the contract. If both parties have all of the necessary information and have accounts in good standing it should be a smooth process.

Performing this task for several units as part of cellular expense management for a mobile fleet is a bit more of an elaborate process — the kind of thing I specialize in as part of my customer service duties — but one of the things we pride ourselves on at GILL Technologies is the ability to cater to both individuals and fleets, so that your communications are always simple, hassle-free and cost effective.

Who Matters More: Customer or Contract?

As app-centered wireless heats up it’s time for regulators to decide whose rights take priority.

This past July and August the FCC began investigating AT&T and Apple’s practices in earnest, especially after Apple allegedly rejected a Google Voice application (or according to Apple, “continues to study it”) intended for its highly profitable iPhone App Store. This is cause for concern because Google Voice gives users access to a number of features that serve as alternatives to core iPhone features – including the ability to make long distance phone calls for free. From a cellular expense management perspective Google Voice is a tremendous boon: a money-saving utility that can reduce the costs attached to any applicable cell phone plan.

Apple claimed that Google Voice would “alter the iPhone user experience,” something which it works very hard to protect even if it is notoriously vague about what exactly that means. The Google Voice App might have gone too far by offering an alternative UI and by harvesting user data in a fashion Apple considers to be a security risk.

On the other hand, if Google Voice were allowed iPhone users would still be able to send standard text messages and pay for long distance through AT&T’s network if they wanted to. They would simply have an alternative – and of course, that alternative is in many ways far, far more appealing than what AT&T and Apple are willing to offer. The App would have offered more choice – that’s competition at work.

This is an important issue for telecom expense management because it gets best results from a truly open market, where consumers and analysts alike can hunt down the best offers from a broad playing field. If individual smartphone brands are allowed to keep users from taking advantage of apps that provide superior service, it becomes harder to optimize smartphone costs. And if the FCC allows this kind of anticompetitive lock-in to proceed, competitors will be tempted to follow suit, leading to a smartphone market that cripples possibilities for its users.

Handsfree Calling and Email from Bell

With the new “no cell phone while driving” law soon rapidly approaching in Ontario, Bell Mobility is now offering a cool feature that will help drivers avoid falling to hands-on cell use temptation — a good thing, since breaking the law nets you a $500 fine (and it makes you drive badly, too!).

Bell Voice Net service allows users to listen to emails and offers handsfree dialing.You are able to import up to 1000 contacts from Microsoft Outlook and  calls them by name or the number.  The feature also allows you to listen to your Pop 3 emails and also reply by voice.

The feature is currently $5.00 per month. If you need to answer email as soon as possible and/or spend a lot of time about using it, it might be worth the money. Just make sure your bill is error-free and on the best package for your needs (the way we can as part of our cellular expense management efforts) and you’ll keep your total bill down to a minimum, giving you room for this addition.

Four Reasons Why your Mobile Phones Leak Money

As your mobile phone bills pile up, ask yourself this: “Why are they so expensive?” The answer probably is not because this is simply how much your cell phone fleet costs. Understanding your cell phone plans is the first step to cost reduction. Over the years we’ve seen common problems crop up again and again. Here are four of them to consider the next time your bills arrive.

Billing Errors: Everybody makes mistakes, including major carriers like Bell Canada, Rogers, AT&T and Sprint. Some experts have found error rates as high as 30%. Carriers forget to include discounts, or charge you for pay per minute/unit services you never used. This is why a cellular expense management audit is such an important step in finding you savings.

Extra Units: When your employees leave or switch roles, what happens to their cell phones? In a surprising number of cases the answer is “nothing.” The phone still appears on your statement and still costs you money. In some cases, employees end up with two or even three units associated with them as they change roles, get new phones, and never get the new ones transferred or deactivated.

Inefficient Use: Some of your plans for the mobile fleet may not survive actual use. You imagine salespeople who constantly use voice and email to keep in touch with the head office, but it turns out that it’s more effective for them to compile all of their reports and send them from a computer. Some employees with company phones never even use them, and of course, there are always issues with employees misusing their phones. You can avoid this all with a regular usage breakdown by employee. Our telecom expense management software Tele-Watch does just that.

Unnecessary Services: Unnecessary services are a form of inefficient use. In these cases your staff uses company phones all the time – but they don’t take advantage of all of the features you’ve paid for. They don’t send email, or leave hundreds of unused minutes behind at the end of every month. Pooled minutes, customized plans and bundling can all help, as long as you know your options.

While you can combat many of these problems on your own, some of them require professional help. That’s why we’re here. Contact us for an initial telecom audit and we’ll show you how to plug up the “money leaks” in your current billing.

Five Reasons to Get Third Party Cellular Customer Service

How many times have you waited on hold with customer support? How many times have you recited an account number, re-explained your plan and information and generally wasted your time? How many times have you asked yourself if there’s a better way?

Well, there is a better way. That’s us, specifically the cellular customer service that comes with our cellular expense management services. We don’t just do the math to save you money. We want you to feel better about your cell phone plans, regardless of carrier. That’s why we feature dedicated customer support. Let’s look at five reasons why using us as a third party beats using standard carrier support.

We Fix Billing Errors: That’s part of our cellular expense management service, but it’s also a customer support issue. Have you ever tried to contest a suspicious bill with your provider? If so, you know how annoying it can be. We not only fix errors, but we find them for you in the first place.

We Know You: Tired of answering the same questions over and over again? Once you hire use to manage your cellular service you won’t have to. Our representatives get a chance to know you and don’t have to run you through a one-size-fits-all set of technical questions.

Multi-Carrier Support: You never have to call more than one number. We’ll deal with every carrier and service you use on your behalf. And since you’ll have a telecom expert dealing with carriers on your behalf, you don’t have to worry about calls being diverted or stalled.  We don’t allow it. If there’s a solution, we find it.

We Work for You – Not Them: Carrier-based support focuses on minimizing their cost. Our service focuses on getting you the best support. The difference is a simple and powerful one. We’ll pursue options like replacement handsets and service credits that carriers are reluctant to provide.

You Save Staff Time and Hassle: When your staff spends time on hold with a carrier that’s time they aren’t spending moving your business forward. Sign up with us and replace 20 minutes on hold (and then answering useless questions) with a five minute chat with someone who knows you, wants to help you and fights to get you the best deal. Which do you think is better for your business?

Did you know that you can get this at NO extra cost compared to what you’re paying now? As part of our telecom expense management services all of these benefits are part of a self-funded service. That means you only pay a portion of what you save – if you don’t save, you don’t pay. Get a free cost audit to start, and see how much better your savings and service can get.

Premium Message Charges

Premium Message Charges

Charges for Premium message can really add up on your Cell phone bill

These charges are often for text messages received that are a joke of the day, horoscope, or trivia questions.-Most people have signed up for these messages unknowingly when using their cell phone number as a contact number -Cell phone carriers charge upwards to $2.00 per message and your Cell phone carrier cannot stop them.

The only way to stop them from being received and charged is to reply to one of the messages with “STOP ALL”

The Palm Pre at Bell: Can It Take a Bite Out of the iPhone in Canada?

After debuting June 6th, 2009 in the US, anticipation for the Palm Pre in Canada has slowly built, but it’s still a modest level interest – nothing like the frenzy that accompanied the iPhone’s arrival. Palm has a lot riding on the Pre; the company lost ground when PDAs effectively went extinct in favor of smartphones, so the Pre is a last ditch grasp at relevancy. Early indications are that it’s a good phone – maybe even a great one – but in many ways it’s adding its own spin to features that are now so heavily identified with the iPhone that looking at a Pre’s touchscreen is almost an ad for the competition.

Nevertheless, business users who focus on function over form have been slower to adopt the iPhone, particularly in Canada, where Rogers’ punishing contract terms make it hard to justify within a company’s telecom expense management regime. Still, there’s a widespread desire for a “next level” phone that’s a cost-effective business tool and after the spotty performance of the Blackberry Storm (which some attribute to suboptimal touchscreen features) there’s still room for a phone to fill that gap.

Basically, it’s all in Bell Mobility’s hands. Canadians want an iPhone/Rogers competitor with a comparable product, but better plans. On the other hand, there are plenty of Canadian iPhone users despite the Rogers contract, and this may tempt Bell to provide less attractive, expensive cell phone plans. If the Pre comes with flexible, competitive pricing it could become a third pillar between the staid functionality of RIM Blackberries and the trendy but extravagant iPhone. If Bell just exploits contracts and SIM locking to the hilt, then it’ll be another also-ran in a smartphone race dominated by two giants.

The iPhone 3G S: Worth the Contract?

On June 8th 2009 Apple announced the latest version of their iPhone. This looks like another incremental change – more minor features and solved problems. Apple is obviously aiming to maintain the iPhone as one of the core smartphone configurations, so its design is basically the same. The improvements are good, but are they enough for a company to adopt iPhones despite their cellular expense management challenges?

The new iPhone supports tethering and MMS, comes with a better camera, battery and headphone included, and is a tougher unit. It’s faster; it features automatic field filling for web browsing. All in all, there isn’t much to make you go “wow.” Even the voice command feature isn’t unexpected, since it’s an emerging technology for other phones.

It’s easy to be dismissive, but combined, these improvements make the iPhone a tempting choice for anyone thinking of a smartphone, but for businesses, there’s a barrier: the contract. AT&T and Rogers in Canada have maintained their stranglehold over the iPhone. In Canada, Rogers has exploited its iPhone monopoly with particular gusto, charging far more than AT&T for cell phone plans with lower data caps. While there are ways to “jailbreak” the phone’s SIM lock and other restrictions this isn’t an appropriate solution for businesses. Inflexible contracts mean that even though the new iPhone could be a fantastic business smartphone it won’t be a cost-effective choice outside of fields where the phone’s trendy nature takes precedence over practical function.

There is one attractive aspect from a telecom expense management perspective: the 8GB 3G model has dropped to just $99 in the US. Rogers hasn’t followed suit, but may do so after Canadian release details come out.

Three Upcoming Cell Phone Technologies

CES 2009 is long gone but the technologies on display there still have a ways to go before they end up in your pocket. Many companies opt for upgrades and new procurement in the summer, so while tech reporters look into the future in January, office managers are more likely to have new technology in mind now. What’s coming up? How will it influence your telecom expense management? Let’s look at three upcoming technologies from that point of view.

Built in Projectors: Cell phone projectors have actually been on the market for a while. Until recently they’ve belonged to phones that were either a little on the chunky side or were primarily destined for Asian markets. LG demonstrated the technology this year, and it’s expected to roll out for broad consumer use by next year. Would this type of phone work in a corporate cell phone plan? Maybe. It may look like a toy for long car trips, but it has definite applications as a go-anywhere tool for presentations. The only drawback is that it will be a definite battery hog.

Netbook/Phone Convergence: Smartphones have eclipsed PDAs as the go-to mobile data tool and as time passes, they’re starting to embrace their role as computers, rather than just phones with extras. The iPhone and BlackBerry drove this paradigm shift, but mobile computing is also being served by netbooks. It seems inevitable that a hybrid device will soon become your standard companion for email, Web access and business data. Sony’s rolling out a new line of VAIO netbooks (netbooks are mini-notebook computers designed primarily for web surfing and basic office functions) with GSM capability. Will consumers opt for netbooks with phone features, or phones with netbook features? With movement in both directions it seems clear that a device with full featured cell phone and netbook capabilities will be offered by major carriers in a year or so.

If your company has mobile computing and cellular needs, this is going to be a major game changer when it comes to cellular expense management planning – and of course, every carrier will need robust wireless networks that can handle the bandwidth. Given the issues that have already come up with the iPhone’s heavy bandwidth use, this may be the one sticking point.

Wireless Charging: While the other technologies we’ve talked about will mature by next year, wireless charging looks like it will hit the mainstream now with the Palm Pre. One of this smartphone’s core accessories is a wireless power dock called the Touchstone. Just place the Pre on it and it will automatically begin charging. CES also featured demonstrations of the Powermat, which charges any device with a special adapter whenever you place it on the surface. Close range wireless power has actually been around for a century, but 100 years ago the average person wasn’t carrying a power hungry phone and media player around and the charging equipment wouldn’t have fit on a typical office desk.

Unlike the other two technologies in this article, wireless charging probably won’t have a direct impact on business, though it will probably provide some hidden savings by removing the nuisance of wires. In an office environment, this one is probably an executive perk – but given its elegance, it would be a welcome one.