Bill shock prompts mobile workers to turn off data roaming when traveling

BYOD reduces visibility into mobile costs for IT departments, report warns

Shockingly high data roaming charges prompt one-quarter of mobile workers to turn off data roaming when they travel, according to a report by mobility service provider iPass.

Around 43 percent of mobile workers said that they had experienced an expensive monthly data roaming bill on average 1.4 times a year. The high bill averaged $1,089, in the past year, according to iPass's quarterly Mobile Workforce Report.

This fear of bill shock means that workers are reluctant to use even basic applications such as web browsers and email when roaming.

An overwhelming 81 percent of the 1,200 mobile enterprise employees polled by iPass said that data roaming rates are too high. Around the same percentage said that $1 to $2 per megabyte is a reasonable price for mobile data roaming. Around 17 percent of respondents said they do not know if they are being overcharged for roaming because their company pays the bill.

The report found that while BYOD can offer greater flexibility for mobile workers, it reduces visibility into mobile costs for IT departments.

"Prohibitively high mobile data roaming charges are killing mobile worker productivity, and people are afraid to turn on their cellular devices. 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; maybe then people will then turn on their smartphones while roaming," said Evan Kaplan, CEO of iPass.

A full 80 percent of mobile workers said they preferred using Wi-Fi networks over cellular networks for mobile application use to improve connectivity and avoid high roaming charges. Even more (85 percent), said they wanted their companies to provide a Wi-Fi access plan for their out-of-office use.

On the security front, one-quarter of businesses do not require their employees to implement security features on the devices they use at work. In addition, close to one-half of mobile workers admitted to bypassing IT restrictions on corporate data access.

For more:
- check out the iPass Mobile Workforce Report

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