It was quite a year for mobility in 2011. First, there were dramatic gains in market share for Android devices and iPhones. Second, as the Android operating system became more popular, hackers increased their targeting of Android smartphones with malware. And third, Verizon joined AT&T in 2011 as it sought to eliminate unlimited data plans for new subscribers. These trends call for managers to respond by extending their Telecom Expense Management (TEM) programs to wireless services in 2012.
Changing Mobile Handsets
Apple’s launch of the iPhone to Verizon in January and Sprint in August of 2011 helped grow its market share to 29% of U.S. smartphones. Android’s operating system (OS) share of smartphone sales grew to 53%. While Android and Apple saw gains in 2011, Research in Motion’s (RIM) Blackberry market share slipped from 25% in 2010 to 10% through October of 2011.
Malware on Smartphones Reaches New Highs
Since July, Juniper Networks found that Android users have seen a 472% increase in malware. These malicious applications target communications, location, or other personal identifying information. Another popular attack uses SMS Trojans, which operate in the background without the user’s knowledge sending SMS messages to premium rate numbers owned by the attacker. The identities of premium rate numbers are usually anonymous, and the money is not recoverable. With this in mind, employers that have not placed any controls on mobile expenses will experience bill shock from rising costs for mobile service expenses in 2012.
End of Unlimited Data Plans
Last year, carriers saw greater demand from customers’ use of wireless spectrum. However, the explosion in data traffic did not produce corresponding gains in data revenues for operators due to unlimited data plans. In 2011, Verizon acted to address this issue by following AT&T’s strategy of eliminating unlimited data plans for new customers. Most organizations have corporate plans that protect them from immediate increases in mobile data costs, but the carriers will now be seeking to raise prices for heavy users of data services including mobile web surfing, e-mail, and other mobile applications. Organizations will also see rising costs for mobile data charges in 2012, as employees replace their Blackberry devices. This can have a significant impact on data consumption because Android and iPhone smartphone users consume four and a half to nearly four times more data compared to Blackberry users.
Planning for 2012 with Wireless Expense and Mobility Management
Managers need to meet these three trends of growth in employees using Android devices and iPhones, the elimination of unlimited data plans, and smartphone malware with new tools to monitor data usage and mobile spending. TEM reports for wireless services provide dashboard reporting that highlight spikes and variances in charges. TEM programs can also distribute usage reports directly to employees and their managers to help augment security and policies designed to limit malware. In 2012, organizations will need to add new controls to prevent runaway mobile expenses.