Report: Mobile Worker Productivity Affected by High Roaming Costs

— August 27, 2012

iPass, Inc. published its quarterly “Mobile Workforce Report,” which shows that 43% of mobile workers reported they had experienced an expensive data roaming bill in the past year and, on average, encountered a high data roaming bill 1.4 times a year. The average cost of their monthly data roaming bill was $1,089.

In conjunction with this, the report indicates that a greater number of mobile workers seem to be taking a stance on data roaming rates, as 81% state that data roaming prices are too high and 23% said they always turn off data roaming when they travel.

“Prohibitively high mobile data roaming charges are killing mobile worker productivity and people are afraid to turn on their cellular devices,” said Evan Kaplan, chief executive officer at iPass. “Enterprise IT and mobile operators have the power to keep mobile workers productive and efficient by providing seamless access to critical data and rich applications on Wi-Fi as a complement to cellular data plans at a tiny fraction of the cost.”

Eighty percent of respondents said they preferred using Wi-Fi networks over cellular networks for mobile application use. Additionally, 85% of mobile employees said they wanted their companies to provide a Wi-Fi access plan for their out-of-office use that can help avoid high charges and connectivity lulls. Currently, the resulting fear of bill shock means that workers are cautious to use even basic, but work-critical applications when roaming, such as web-browsing and email.

BYO Trends Still On the Up
The report also noted that BYOD trends remain strong, especially in North America, as users increasingly use their own devices for work and are increasingly more network cost and security-conscious. While BYOD can offer greater flexibility for mobile workers, however, it can reduce visibility into mobile costs for IT departments.

Because of the expense and complexity of global connectivity, many enterprises are increasingly focused on providing easy, cost-effective data access, making “bring your own network” (BYON) an upcoming, hot-button topic for enterprise and mobile employees who want access to more affordable, global Wi-Fi networks to complement their current network access.

Other Report Findings:

•80% of mobile workers stated $1-2 per megabyte (MB) to be a reasonable price for mobile/cellular data roaming.

•17% of mobile workers don’t know if they are being overcharged for roaming charges because their company pays the bill.

•Corporate security measures have not kept pace with BYOD, with 25% of businesses still failing to demand security features on their employees’ devices.

•Security is being further compromised with 48% of mobile workers admitting to bypassing IT restrictions to enable them to access corporate data.

•19% of mobile workers’ companies do not require security on smartphones or tablets to access work data.

The iPass Mobile Workforce Report is published quarterly. This report was based on a survey of nearly 1,200 mobile enterprise employees worldwide between June 19, 2012 and July 13, 2012.

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