Could unbundling be the cheaper way to finance your mobile phone infrastructure?

"A 24-month deal, locked into the same network provider, with the same handset resulting in next to nothing in terms of flexibility."

What is unbundling?

The vast majority of people will be familiar with the typical ‘bundled’ mobile phone contract. A 24-month deal, locked into the same network provider, with the same handset resulting in next to nothing in terms of flexibility. However, less of us are familiar with the unbundled approach. In enterprise mobility solutions unbundling essentially means you buy the handset and tariff plan separately rather than it being rolled into one monthly price. With a standard bundled contract the telco’s often disguise the cost of the handset within your monthly bill leaving us with the image that the handset is ‘free’. In reality this isn’t the case as you’ll probably be paying for the handset with a hidden APR charge of around 30% on top.

In the B2C market we are witnessing a shift in popularity from the bundled model to the unbundled model in the form of sim-only contracts. Over a 24-month period we found the cost savings of unbundling could be up to 28% and just over £400 per device in some circumstances*. If we were to apply a £400 saving per device to a large enterprise with over 3,000 phones, per se, then the savings unbundling could enable would be extremely compelling. With the B2B market however, clarity on cost savings can be clouded by the ‘tech funds’ that telco’s provide. Tech funds have been a way for the telco’s to attract and retain customers by offering organisations ‘free money’. Once again this isn’t actually the case and yet again the telco’s will disguise the true cost of ownership within the tariff package. Our recommendation would be to look into your current network package and find out how much you could save by separating the handset from the tariff. 

*iPhone X 64GB 8GB data, unlimited texts/unlimited minutes. Data correct as of 19.01.2018*

Advantages of unbundling

An unbundled approach has 3 key benefits to it:

  1. Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – With a bundled contract you’ll often be paying the hidden ‘interest’ charges. By separating the handset from the tariff, you are able to sidestep this and save a considerable amount of money in the process
  2. Increased Transparency – By separating the handset from the tariff you’ll know exactly how much you’re paying for the handset and how much you’re paying for your tariff, thus making it easier to compare other network providers and handsets
  3. Increased Flexibility – By unbundling you’re free to choose your preferred handset whether it be an iPhone, Samsung, Sony etc. and your preferred tariff be it, Vodafone, O2, 3, EE etc. In addition, as you’re not locked into a 12 or 24 month deal you are free to switch network providers or upgrade your handset whenever you want

We are firm believers that mobile working is the future and it’s time for organisations to embrace the change. The increased flexibility, productivity and customer & employee satisfaction that mobile working can offer is difficult to ignore. We’ve already seen a host of organisations from a wide variety of sectors struggle due to not embracing new technology including, Blockbuster, Blackberry & Kodak. Retailers such as Borders, HMV, BHS and Woolworths failing to adapt to the rise in online retail and finally social media sites including Myspace, Bebo & Vimeo battling to keep up with the giants including Facebook, Twitter & YouTube. Likewise, we’ve seen companies such as Uber, Tesla, Amazon, Rockar, Deliveroo, Spotify & Netflix rip up the rulebook in the way we travel, shop and consume media services.

Contact Us

Its predicted that by 2019 there will be 3.5 billion smartphones deployed globally. Our advice is to adopt or review your current mobility strategy in order to not be left behind. Feel free to contact one of our experts for any advice or extra information. We'd be happy to have a conversation with you about your mobility strategy.

Dominic Cockram

Country Service Manager

Danny Persaud

Head of Sales - UK & Ireland Corporate

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