Carriers cash in on BYOD

Sanjay Mewada
18 Oct 2012

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon, where consumer devices are being used for enterprise purposes, is currently a top-of-mind topic in enterprise mobility. And no wonder because it’s simply more productive for the worker.

But for enterprises, BYOD presents several challenges, most especially about security. Mobile malware incidents are at their highest point since 2009, according to McAfee. New malware leaped from 70,000 instances in 2009 to almost 90,000 so far this year.

Other obstacles in implementing a rational BYOD plan include managing policies for what usage is billed to the business and what is billed to the consumer. Often, employees are told to purchase their own device, and to expense their work usage—but only up to a certain acceptable threshold.

Or, businesses might give an employee a phone that can also be used for consumer applications. Companies are direct-billed for that phone from the service provider, so they often set an arbitrary percentage—10%, 20%—to charge back to the employee. It’s a back-office level of complexity that many CFOs would prefer not to deal with, but find themselves increasingly hampered by.

MDM (mobile device management) presents another challenge. For BYOD to work, an MDM app, which varies according to service provider and device, must be installed on the phone. In a large enterprise, the IT department may find itself juggling 30 different MDM solutions, which is a nightmare on its own. For an IT department doing a cost-benefit analysis, it may find that it is spending more to support BYOD than any savings that the strategy may provide in subscription plan savings or productivity.

The service provider with the right offering that takes into account the challenges outlined above is in a perfect position to carve out a new revenue opportunity through managed service subscriptions, roaming revenue and double-dipping on device subsidies.

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