How mobile data roaming is impacting on businesses

While expanding and exporting into overseas markets is an important part of business growth, new research suggests firms could be losing millions on mobile data usage.


According to Wandera, British firms could incur mobile data roaming costs of up to £170m in three months of June, July and August.


Overall roaming costs could hit £500m, with businesses footing roughly 35% of the bill for corporate data usage, according to the study.


Overseas data usage now accounts for one fifth of all corporate data usage, so while it is good to see British companies broadening their horizons, it is coming at a cost.


The study revealed that workers are likely to use twice as much data in the summer months than in any other three-month period during the year.


This is a concern for many businesses, especially considering that EU regulations are in place to control data roaming charges.


Most operators will charge fees for using a mobile to call or text from another EU country, while the use of mobile internet also carries significant charges.


While prices are being slowly forced down, some companies will need to keep a watchful eye on their finances to ensure that bills do not get out of control.


Large bills could plunge businesses into financial difficulty, and leave them in need of business recovery methods in order to keep trading.


The good news is that this issue should only occur until the end of 2015, by which stage data roaming will be banned.


According to the research, the main use of data occurs when staff check emails on their phones when abroad – accounting for 23% of all usage.


The use of video was the second largest data user, accounting for 14% of all data, and up 27% on the figure for a year ago.


Given the increase in usage of smartphones and mobile devices such as tablets, the figures are likely to increase further still before the ban on roaming is introduced.


For SMEs especially, these costs could have a tremendous impact upon their operations.


By Phil Smith


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