Mobile Management in 2010

Mobile management is a swiftly evolving field, where effective solution providers need to stay aware of the latest business, technology and regulatory trends to offer the very best services. At GILL Technologies we need to do a little more than just pay attention to products and billing, however, because we also offer technical and service support through our ClientCare program, where people like Amy and Tara help clients with everything from setting up a new mobile phone to migrating entire fleets to new carriers.

Now that 2010 is here and CES has come and gone, it’s time to talk about some of the new trends that will affect mobile management this year. Some of these developments promise to save money – and others represent new costs to control.

Android Phones: An explosion in wireless powered by Google’s Android OS has brought an explosion of choice into the cell phone market, as well as a powerful mobile management opportunity on the procurement front. Blackberry may still be the best for certain business functions but it and the iPhone aren’t the only practical choices any more. Key phones to watch include Motorola’s Droid (known as the Milestone in Canada) and the Google/HTC Nexus One. Beyond these there are dozens of new phones in all price ranges – and you may need professional mobile management to find the right one for you.

Carrier Competition: GILL Technologies provides mobile management solutions in both the US and Canada, so we took careful note when the government decided to permit WIND Mobile to operate in Canada. WIND’s bringing genuine competition to a market that’s been dominated by the “big three” of Bell, Rogers and Telus. WIND has thrown down the gauntlet with significantly cheaper wireless internet and competitive voice packages – but as of January 2010 it still doesn’t have a significant network outside of Toronto and Calgary. Competition is heating up in the US as well with the highly publicized advertising war between AT&T and Verizon over who really has the best 3G network.

Carrier-Subsidized Computers: Now that virtually every carrier offers mobile Internet, many have taken the next step and begun to subsidize netbooks and laptops with the purchase of a wireless Internet contract. This development will prove to be especially important this year as several companies release new devices designed specifically for this purpose. This includes the rumoured Apple iSlate tablet and several other computers with the tablet form factor. From a mobile expense management perspective, the challenge will be to help clients identify what they need out of these devices before finding ne that best fits the profile.

4G Internet: In Canada, Bell and Telus are cooperating to offer fourth generation (4G) mobile broadband. In the US, Verizon and Sprint have just begun to offer it in selected cities. From a mobile management perspective, the question is whether signing on for a 4G plan early meets a genuine business need, and whether competing carriers are offering a reliable, cost-effective service.

We’re looking forward to these challenges and opportunities in the year ahead. If you’d like to find out how we can help you with them from a mobile management perspective, Contact us.

Save on Data Costs with Tethering — While You Still Can

In Canada, Rogers is pushing its Rocket Stick wireless internet service pretty hard. But you won’t hear much about another service that could save you money while providing similar advantages. I’m talking about internet tethering.

Tethering is the act of using your mobile phone as a modem. This allows you to hook it up to a laptop so that you can take advantage of wireless high speed internet on the go, much as you would with an internet stick.That means that instead of having separate plans for your phone and internet stick (and paying for the internet stick on short term plans) you’d be able to take it all from one data plan . . . except that you can’t, because carriers don’t want you to.

Tethering capability is actually built into most Internet-ready wireless hardware, but carriers typically block, reduce or levy extra charges for this function.  Out of the big three Canadian carriers, Bell and Telus both charge outrageous overage on tethering no matter your data plan, as their conditions specifically exclude it.

Rogers does support tethering — but it sure looks like they don’t want to. Rogers data plans of 1 GB or greater either automatically support tethering, or can get it enabled with a phone call, but this only applies to data plans subscribed to from June 19, 2009 to December 31st of this year. That means if you want tethering you need to act now.

For GILL Technologies customers in Canada tethering is a simple two process. Just Call ClientCare to request Rogers’ tethering Add-On and we’ll set it up for you, along with any data plan you need. Next, call again or ask us to call you) and we’ll walk you through setting up tethering step by step.