Survey finds dramatic drop in employers providing smartphones to employees

BYOD risk of 'bill shock' grows with greater use of mobile data

Only one-third of employers provide corporate smartphones to their employees, down from 58 percent last year, according to the latest Mobile Workforce Report by iPass.

At the same time, the percentage of employees bringing their own devices has climbed to 46 percent from 42 percent last year. For the report, iPass, a provider of Wi-Fi connectivity, surveyed 1,700 workers at 1,100 enterprises around the globe.

Of those employees who bring their own device, Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone remains the most popular smartphone at 53 percent, up from 45 percent in 2011. This was followed by Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android at 34 percent, up from 21 percent last year, Research in Motion's (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry at 26 percent, down from 32 percent in 2011, and Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Phone at 5 percent.

A full 59 percent of workers said they plan to rely on tablets in the coming year, with iPad being the tablet of choice for a majority of respondents.

When mobile workers connect their devices, Wi-Fi is their network of choice, but they expressed frustration with connectivity outside of the office. Half of those surveyed said they had trouble finding access to Wi-Fi networks and this had an impact on productivity.

Access to applications while on the go was another problem cited by mobile workers, with 34 percent of respondents citing it as a problem, up from one-quarter last year.

In addition, employees are not concerned about the cost of connectivity when choosing a mobile network. This could create "bill shock," particularly with the increasing use of mobile data on smartphones and the risk of large roaming changes as a results, iPass warned.

The report also found that 63 percent of mobile workers are spending at least six hours working online over the weekend, with nearly one-third working online up to 20 hours.

While mobility can improve worker productivity, it is not always best for the employee, particularly if he or she is not getting the rest they need. This could in the long term undermine worker productivity and raise employer expenses in terms of increased sick time and higher medical bills.

For more:
- check out the iPass report

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