CEO, Avema Corporation

Negotiation is an art that can help companies significantly save on its cell phone bills.

Roger Yang, CEO of Avema Corporation, a Toronto-based telecom expense management firm, said companies who negotiate cell phone rates with vendors and implement appropriate spend policies experience cost savings of up to 60 to 70 per cent.I’ve seen people take cell phone calls at their desk when they are next to their land lines.Roger Yang>Text If not, he said, firms could be overspending as much as 70 per cent on their cell phone bills. As well, companies should consider consolidating multiple vendors down to one, but also need to re-negotiate year after year in order to take advantage of consistent competitive pricing if rates continue to drop. Also, service does not have to be compromised if going with one carrier. “If there is one vendor you like, then see if you can get the same kind of pricing from [a competitor],” said Yang.

Negotiating is just one of several tips offered by Avema to help companies reduce their cell phone costs. Yang added companies can negotiate as much as possible for better pricing, but since price can only go so far down, telecom managers need to look at reducing costs in other ways. One way to do this, Yang said, would be for companies to establish a spend policy and a way to enforce it.

“In large companies, many of them have not been aware of the costs as they should be. When you have 500 to 1,000 cell phones it is difficult to monitor and enforce these policies unless [companies] have the software to do it in a more automated way,” he said.

As well, he said there should be policies on spending based on an employee’s job function and expected cell usage. Yang cited a company in the United States that saved 30 per cent on its cell phone bills by implementing policies where employees would have to pay anything over and above what the set threshold was for cell phone use.

He added that personal calls on company cell phones have been the biggest area of unnecessary costs to a company. Workers may not think much about cost when they make a personal call on a company cell phone but to their employers it means paying 50 per cent more than they should be.

“Land lines are free and long distance has gotten so cheap. People don’t think about it anymore [but] those habits have transferred over to cell phones, which still cost a fair amount to use,” said Yang. He cited the example of one company in England that banned personal calls and saw a 75 per cent reduction to its cell phone bills.

However, even business calls can get expensive and employees need to decide if a call could be made on their office phone as opposed to their cell phone.

“I’ve seen people take cell phone calls at their desk when they are next to their land lines,” said Yang.

He also said manual administrative work done by employees in managing all of a company’s cell phones has also driven up costs of telecom bills.

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