10 questions to ask when looking at business mobile service providers

Finding the right service provider is never easy and mobile is no exception.

To help you identify the best mobile service provider for your business, we caught up with Opus’ mobile sales director, Juliette Lee, to discover the top 10 questions you should ask.

10 questions to ask when looking for a new business mobile service provider

1. How many mobile network choices are there?

While you’ll probably be familiar with a range of mobile network providers, there are only three main business mobile networks: O2, EE and Vodafone. A good provider will have access to all three of these networks and be able to recommend tariffs from each to suit your needs.

2. Will the contract be direct with the network?


Different mobile service providers offer different contract types. Some have agreements that mean they’re responsible for the service you receive but not the billing, for example. In these instances, you sign a contract with the mobile service provider themselves.

If your mobile estate is small, this might suit you, but businesses with complex requirements will be better served by independent agreements of the kind that we provide here at Opus

One contract type is not necessarily better than the other. You might not want to be tied into a network contract because there’s no flexibility, for example. Contracts offered through independent partners provide more agility. From liability and indemnity to risk and service levels, independent providers like Opus will tailor the contract to fit each client’s needs.

3. Is there an app/portal that delivers insight post and pre-billing?


The majority of mobile service providers offer billing portal access. A way of qualifying whether or not a new mobile service provider is right for your business is how well they have developed their portal offering. 

  • Does it provide trend analysis?
  • Can you use it to gather insights into end-users and costs?
  • Is it available as an app?

The best portals provide all these functionalities and more, within an hour of calls and data usage taking place. For businesses with 100+ users, this speed is vital for monitoring costs and usage, enabling you to track core metrics and usage/costs on the go, as it happens

business mobile provider

4. Does the portal allow any element of self-service?


The functionality of your customer portal should extend beyond reporting and analytics to account administration. It’s important to be able to log in and carry out self-service, without being dependent on the mobile service provider. Using the portal, can you:

  • do SIM swaps?
  • change end-user names?
  • carry out key administrative tasks using an app?

Every portal is different and not all of them will allow this element of self-service, so it’s important to check in advance, to make sure you’ll have the level of service you require.

5. How are account managers selected for new clients?


Your account manager will be your point of contact with the service provider. As the person managing your account, it’s important you trust them and their capabilities. As a bare minimum, evaluate the proposed account manager’s:

  • experience
  • understanding of your industry sector 
  • number of accounts they manage

How much experience do they have in your industry sector? Are they knowledgeable of this type and size of account and can they back up their experience with a proven history?

Opus business mobile service provider

Find out more about Opus’ new mobile sales director, Juliette Lee, and how she could help you to transform your mobile estate
 

6.What industry sector experience is there?

Outside of account management, what’s the provider’s wider experience in your sector? If they don’t have experience delivering mobile solutions across your industry, that shouldn’t deter you straight away. Many mobile service providers offer suites of technology solutions across a wide range of industries and sectors, giving them invaluable experience. Ask them:

  • What experience do they have of your industry sector
  • if they understand how your sector or industry work 
  • if they understand or have experience with your client types

This is an important question to ask because sector experience extends well beyond the remit of account management. The most successful mobile service providers have an ecosystem of services, technologies and teams around them from which they can learn.

 
“At Opus, I’m surrounded by people who understand every sector. By leveraging my 22 years of mobile telecoms experience alongside their industry knowledge, I can match the right mobile product to every client’s needs.” Juliette Lee, mobile sales director, Opus

7. What other mobile services do they offer? What services can be procured that layer on top of the mobile airtime product?

While you might just be reaching out to providers for a core mobile airtime product now, it’s likely that your mobile requirements will grow and change in line with your business. Finding a provider capable of delivering additional mobile services now will mean you don’t need to switch later on down the line when your technology roadmap advances.

  • Do they have access to compliant mobile voice recording technology?
  • Do they offer mobile security products?
  • Do they provide mobile device management products?

Even if you don’t need them straight away, finding a provider who does have experience layering these products on top of one another should reassure you that you’re in safe hands

8. Are DEP (Device Enrolment Programs) and Zero-touch devices available?


Device Enrolment Program, or DEP as it’s known, is the Apple IOS product that empowers device management by linking and synchronising all your company’s iPhones and Macs with the products that you add to your mobile estate. As you can imagine, this makes device management much easier, particularly across large enterprises. It also enables remote wiping of data from your mobile devices when needed. 

This functionality will transform your service desk’s efficiency when it comes to erasing Apple devices when employees leave your organisation, which is otherwise a laborious and time-consuming process. It also allows you to block any devices as necessary. Zero-touch is android’s equivalent solution.

Finding a provider who offers DEP/Zero-touch devices could unlock multiple efficiencies and make it much easier for you and your team to manage the company’s mobile estate

9. Are agile contract terms available such as co-terminous agreements?

Check to make sure that the contract you’re signing includes a co-terminous agreement, allowing you to terminate multiple contracts at the same time. Co-terminous agreements are important because they let you know that there’s room to negotiate on the terms and conditions. They also let you know that you’re able to add new connections without continually pushing back the estate’s co-terminous end date. 

Without such an agreement, you may find it hard to switch providers or end your contract. The industry hasn’t yet standardised a type of contract, so it’s important to ask this question to make sure that you fully understand the terms to which you’re agreeing.

10. Will they provide a free audit on the current mobile estate?

There are many reasons why it’s beneficial to clarify whether or not the provider will offer a free audit on your estate.

For one, you may want to be specific with the provider about what kind of mobile audit you’d like to receive. Asking this question will give you the peace of mind that both you and the provider are on the same page in terms of the scope and expectations of the audit. 

Another reason is that an audit is essential for the provider to get an overview of your mobile estate. If they don’t offer an audit, how can they recommend an appropriate tariff or package? You should question how well they understand your business mobile needs.

As long as they have the mobile numbers and what kind of terms you are on, a provider should be able to offer you a granular forensic report of how well your existing contract and provider is serving you and what they can offer you in terms of a better mobile contract.

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Discover how to build a better contract in our free guide to business mobile services.

 

Also ask: how commercially competitive are they?

When vetting different mobile service providers, this will cut to the core in terms of where they stand in the market and whether or not they’re the right partner for you.

Do they talk about the three main business networks? If you think back to question one, a commercially competitive provider should be able to offer you a portfolio of tariff plans from each of the three business mobile networks to choose from.

And while the networks are standardised, they all have different flavours in terms of how they manage international and roaming charges, for example, so not only are commercial considerations important but the networks that underpin them are going to be key, too. 

Based on their answers to each of the questions covered in this checklist:

1. Can you confidently say the provider is going to be able to compete at a network standard level?
2. Can they deliver the service level you need for the right price?
3. Are they of a size and have they got the network relationships that enable them to be commercially competitive?
4. And if they are one of the smaller providers, what are they going to do to win your business and give you great service?

To talk with Opus about your mobile service needs and how we can help you to find the right mobile contract for your business, get in touch today.


Better business mobile

 

For more information about this or any of our news items please call us on 0800 316 7566.
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