Unlocked phones for the enterprise can mean savings, flexibility

 In End-User Devices, Hardware

When a multinational financial institution needed new iPhones, it tried something new. Until recently, enterprises buying iPhones had to do so through the carriers the phones would operate on. But now, unlocked iPhones are available, and this organization saw an opportunity for more efficiency, flexibility, and freedom.

It needed to deploy 7,000 iPhones globally, and by purchasing unlocked phones, it was able to gain huge efficiencies in procurement. Not only by buying the phones from one source, but because the unlocked phones can be used with any carrier.

It now has better options for its globe-traveling employees. Using an e-SIM card from Truphone that leverages cell towers wherever you are in the world, the financial institution’s global workforce no longer has to worry about switching between phones or carriers. It reduced the number of carriers it deals with from 150 to one. SHI assisted with the migration and number transfers from the previous carriers and got the company fully standardized on Truphone.

Could the same strategy work for your enterprise? Here are five reasons why unlocked phones might be right for your organization.

Reasons to buy an unlocked phone

  1. Your company’s employees are globe trotters. Rather than carrying multiple phones, users can just swap out the SIM card when they land in a different country. Or even more convenient, they can get a global SIM, like the e-SIM from Truphone, which uses cell towers wherever you are in the world. That way you can cut the number of carriers across the globe from potentially hundreds to one.
  1. You want more control over contracts and charges. Signing a contact can seem like it’s saving money upfront, but you end up paying for phones even when they’re not in use. There are often hidden fees. By buying unlocked phones, you can then take that hardware to carriers, tell them how many phones you need to activate, and see what the service costs are without having to finance the hardware at the same time. You can shop around for the best pricing and you’ll get a clearer picture of what you’re paying for service each period. 
  1. You need more flexibility with carriers. Because unlocked phones can be used with any provider, you can buy all your phones from a single source, and then choose a provider based on location as the phones are deployed around the country or the world. A single phone can move from one carrier to another as needed, so you can more easily move around hardware assets as employees and priorities shift. 
  1. You can use iPhones without having to activate them. Whether you need a powerful tool in a warehouse for stock analysis and other tasks, or you want to eliminate landlines in offices by using only Wi-Fi, unlocked iPhones can serve these tasks without requiring activation on a carrier. 
  1. Unlocked iPhones have a higher resale value. Apple products historically have a higher resale value because both the quality of the hardware and the fact that Apple manufactures both the hardware and the OS help extend the lifecycle of the devices. The resale value of an unlocked iPhone is higher than a carrier-specific iPhone because of the flexibility an unlocked phone provides. The more granular and locked down a device is, the smaller the pool of potential resale buyers, and therefore the lower the resale value.

When buying unlocked phones doesn’t make sense

 Obviously this strategy might not be best for every organization. If you’re a smaller company or you don’t do a lot of international travel, you might be better off renewing your contracts as usual.

If your organization is set on using HTC phones, Google Pixel phones, or other manufacturers besides the two behemoths of Apple and Samsung, you don’t yet have the option to buy unlocked versions at the enterprise level. If you do want to buy unlocked, your choices are definitely more limited, but you can also get the most popular and powerful phones on the market.

How to get started with unlocked phones

When you have about six months left in your contract, it’s time to reconsider your procurement strategy for mobile phones. This is a good time to review your expenses, how many carriers you have, your satisfaction with your current service, and your future needs.

What do you expect over the next two years – do you need more lines? Are employees traveling more frequently? Will you be adding new employees or global locations? What phones are employees asking for and which ones have the features that would best help them to do their jobs? Is there an opportunity to consolidate the carriers you use?

If you determine that moving forward with unlocked phones is the right step, there is a certain amount of legwork involved, from transferring numbers to negotiating new wireless contracts independent of hardware. Get started early and bring in outside help as needed.

Next steps

As you assess whether buying unlocked phones is best for you, we’re here to help you ask the right questions and figure out what to do when your current contract comes up for renewal.

For many organizations, the availability of unlocked phones offers a better way to manage your hardware and service more efficiently and with more flexibility than ever before.

Have questions? Contact your account executive today.

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