Telecom Student Papers: McKnight - California Western
Fall 2004 Telecom Student Papers: McKnight

Keeping Wireless Communication Costs Low is a Key Concern for All Companies

By Joseph McKnight

           In today's society wireless communication is an integral part of everyday business.  From warehouse workers to corporate executives, modern wireless technologies have become a critical tool for corporate competitiveness and survival.  As a result, keeping wireless communication costs down is a key concern for all companies, but is oftentimes a daunting task in the face of new and confusing technologies, constantly changing wireless communication plans, and poor customer service across the wireless communication industry.  Fortunately, a service exists that can solve these problems.  Wireless companies that are driven by service rather than activations can relieve companies of their expensive wireless nightmares.

          Many of the current problems that companies have with their wireless systems are caused by the fact that the entire wireless industry is predominately activation driven.  Activation occurs when a cellular phone becomes capable of sending and receiving calls on a particular wireless service provider's network, e.g., Nextel, Verizon, Sprint, etc.  These service providers generate their revenue by charging monthly usage fees, high rates for minutes used during peak times, roaming charges, and official accessories for their phones.  On the other hand, the retail stores who are licensed to activate cellular phones on a particular network are paid large sums of money by the service provider for each new cell phone they activate.  After this activation occurs, these wireless companies have almost no hope of generating revenue from current customers except by selling a few low-cost accessories.  This is why there seems to be a wireless company on every street corner, in every shopping mall, and in every electronics store.

          The wireless companies do not have a business model based around repeat customers --- they need new ones.  As a result, companies are left to decipher confusing cellular manuals, decide what rate plans best fit their needs, recognize when they may need to change their plans to stop getting charged ridiculous fees, and stay updated on the constantly changing wireless industry.  In fact, their only avenue of support is to directly contact the wireless service provider and wait on hold to talk to a customer service representative located in some other state.  It is no wonder customer service by wireless service providers is second only to car dealerships for the most complaints!  The results of poor customer service and ridiculous fees have already taken effect in the corporate world as some companies are forced to digress back to land lines.

           The solution to these problems is to have a wireless consulting company that is service driven instead of focused on gaining new activations.  This commitment requires the wireless consulting company to provide full account service and maintenance for the length of the contract.  This wireless management service will give businesses more personalized customer service by providing an account executive that will handle all concerns related to their wireless needs.  These services include training on new equipment, suggesting the proper rate plan and wireless service provider, monthly reports demonstrating the efficiency of the customer's wireless system, keeping customers up to date on any new and beneficial rate plans, providing accessories and new technology at the best prices, and most importantly, handling all questions regarding their wireless service.  Essentially the wireless consulting service will be a one-stop source for every wireless need.  Since the business model of the wireless consulting company depends on repeat customers and not on one time activations, the attention to high quality customer service will be paramount to its success.  Indeed, both the customer and the wireless industry will benefit from a more service driven approach to wireless communication.          

          Companies that already have wireless accounts could also benefit from these services as well by signing a wireless services agreement.  This agreement will require that the customer give authorization to the wireless consulting company to evaluate their wireless system.  This initial evaluation would be completely free of charge.  After analyzing the account, the wireless consulting company will provide a basic report demonstrating the savings and benefits of the proposed changes.  The fee to make these changes is the first three months of savings created by the suggseted changes.  In addition, the customer will receive an entire year of full account services and management.

          Businesses are in dire need of a wireless consulting company that is service driven.  "Many companies...are throwing away money as bills skyrocket...Companies spend 5% to 35% more than they need to...(because) they fail to find the cheapest calling plans (and)...they miss billing mistakes...As telecom costs rise, so does the potential for excessive expense," says Andrew Backover of U.S.A. Today.  In addition to throwing away money comes the difficulty of contesting errors located within bills.  Vague bills generated by wireless service providers are difficult to discern, which increases the difficulty of success when attempting to contest a bill.  the bottom line is that companies do not have the time to properly manage their wireless account and have even less time to handle the frequent issues that arise.  A wireless consulting company that works side-by-side with companies is not only under appreciated, but is necessary.  Attempting to understand and proactively manage a cell phone account is difficult for individuals.  The complexity is amplified for businesses that must manage multiple lines, multiple personnel, and multiple sites.

          As companies increase their reliance on wireless communication, the more essential it is for companies to have wireless consulting services.  These services save time, money, and frustration that usually come with a wireless system.  The low cost of such a service compared to the benefits often becomes obvious when it is too late.

Bibliography

Periodicals

1.  Cell Phones Generate High Volume of Complaints, Wireless News n.2 (2004).

2.  Elizabeth Schainbaum, Disconnected: District to shed 152 cell phones n.2 (2003).

3.  Cadence and Spectrum Partnership Celebrates First Year Anniversary; Partnership

Drives Reduction in Telecom Expenses for Clients, PR newswire n.3 (2004).

WWW Sites

1.  Andrew Backover, Think your phone bill is crazy? Firms have it worse? at

http://www.USAToday.com/money/covers/2001-08-07-bcovotue.htm. n.3 (2001).