Covid mobile usage

Your company’s cell phone usage and COVID-19

Navigating the trends with the pandemic as they relate to your corporate mobile usage

As we all know, the Covid-19 pandemic has moved many workers to home for the foreseeable future.  What is interesting is how this has impacted usage and ultimately costs for enterprises.  We knew that working from home was going to have an impact on employee behavior but not specifically to the consumption of wireless carrier services.  Insight into two organizations has shown us that consumption patterns have in fact changed.  These changes, however, do not always result in increased costs. As you will read below, closely monitoring your monthly consumption has never been more important than it is now. We will explain why.

Decrease in data consumption

For one large manufacturing company sending their employees home resulted in multiple changes with mobile usage.  Their employees seemed to embrace the utilization of home Wi-Fi networks.  Overall, data consumption dropped by up to 25% during the initial months of the pandemic with an average pandemic monthly decrease of 18%.  Data roaming charges dropped by 90% which was certainly to be expected as international travel was mostly halted and is an overall small percentage of total data usage.

Conversely, voice minutes increased by up to 49% in the initial months of the pandemic with an average pandemic monthly increase of 37%. Messaging volumes increased up to 19% from pre-pandemic volumes with an average monthly increase of 10%. While voice and messaging volumes have minimal impact on carrier costs because those charges are typically unlimited within many plan structures, the decreases in data consumption resulted in up to a 12% monthly cost reduction from pre-pandemic levels with an average monthly decrease of 8.6%. Our ability to monitor this client’s usage and make adjustments as we noticed significant trends saved our client on their mobility budget.

Increase in data consumption

A mid-sized university experienced mobile usage changes as they migrated to a distance learning environment. Contributing to their changes were an increase of data only MiFI’s that were distributed to students in need of internet access. These additional devices increased the number of wireless devices that needed to be managed by 28%.  Data consumption increased up to 326% in the initial pandemic months with an average pandemic monthly increase of 194%. Data costs must be monitored on a regular basis to avoid large overage costs and high wireless bills.

Voice usage increased up to 70% in the early pandemic months with an average pandemic monthly increase of 41%. Messaging increased up to 57% with an average pandemic monthly increase of 22%.  With the increase in wireless devices and corresponding usage increases you would expect a significant increase in costs.  While one pandemic month did increase 19% the average pandemic monthly cost increase was only 6% due to our process to clearly pinpoint usage pattern changes that could cause increased expenses and take swift actions to remedy them.

For both of these organizations, the Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed how the organizations operated and had significant impacts to their wireless usage patterns. In one case data usage was lower but increases in voice and text were on the rise which could signal different user behavior patterns. In another case, additional data devices needed to be managed along with higher data usage to ensure cost effectiveness. Without forensic level monthly monitoring of usage patterns together with proactive management and constant alignment of rate plans and features, the outcome would have yielded much different results.

A set it and forget it approach to pooled plans (even if unlimited) is not always sufficient to manage large user populations nor is a bill review after the usage has already billed. OVATION’s seasoned advisors use a systematic approach to monitor all of our clients’ usage, both unlimited and metered, to determine the optimal plans based on usage, trends and rate plan options.