Selecting a mobile business plan has become incredibly difficult. Gone are those days where all you have are 4 major carriers that force you to play by their rules. With a plethora of Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNO's, Resellers, and Aggregators, things get a bit wild. Before we get into the various mobility options, we need to understand what each type of provider has and their benefits.
Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNO's
What is an MVNO? This is a company that leases airtime space from a Mobile Network Operator (MNO). A good example of an MNO is Verizon or AT&T. The MVNO's create their own rate plans, control your data speed. The process of reducing data speeds is called throttling.
They bill the customer directly and provide full support. In short, think of them as a retail store. They own the merchandise, create their own policies, have their own employees, but they don't own the actual building like the MNO does.
The mainstream MVNO's like Straight Talk, Total Wireless, and Page Plus focus on the budget-conscious consumer. Their customers care about Unlimited Talk, Text, and Data and they are not concerned with the various restrictions on video streaming. They offer a modest amount of High Speed 4G LTE Data after which your download speeds will be reduced. Charges typically start from $15-$45 per line per month.
Then, there are MVNO's that only specialize in IoT or Internet of Things. These providers are focused on large commercial enterprises. They offer a wide range of flexibility and support that you cannot get from the bigger guys.
Yes, sometimes they may be more expensive, but the extra cost is worth it. Since all they do is IoT, they can provide a more robust solution with a lot more bells and whistles. One thing to be mindful of, however, is the location of their data centers and how your data is treated.
For a large business with complex IoT requirements, that is the way to go. They will typically provide you with an executive summary that will outline their strengths.
Lastly, there are MVNO's that only specialize in business clients. These types of providers may be a good option if you are starting a business with a hand full of employees. They will guide you through the process and will not force you to buy things that you don’t need.
That being said, small businesses are not their primary target market. They typically focus on medium to large businesses. They also have a large variety of cell phone plans and options.
While their Unlimited Plans still come with restrictions, they can be adjusted to fit your company’s specific needs. With them, you have a bit of flexibility when it comes to structuring your wireless service. Their plans offer IoT solutions, Mexico and Canada plans, Wi-Fi calling, mobile hotspots and 4G Speeds.
POND Mobile falls in such a category. Only we take it up a notch. We offer immense flexibility to fit any business structure. We provide customized rate plans for not just the Enterprise customers, but small and medium-sized companies as well. Click here to find out more.
When it comes to resellers, things are very straightforward. They get wholesale plans at a discount and pass that along to the end-user. They have no control over plans or the networks. Some may provide a tier-one support infrastructure but will direct you to the MNO for any issue out of the ordinary.
This may be a good fit for a company that is looking to save a few bucks and knows what they need. Resellers may have access to sell more than one network and it can be a good one-stop-shop. Think of them as jacks of all trades, masters of none. In my opinion, these resellers provide a great benefit to a medium-sized business that may not have the buying power of an Enterprise client but can benefit from some discounts.
If your business does not have the time and/or resources to shop around, an aggregator may be a good option. They shop all the providers on your behalf and get you the best most comprehensive offer they can find. They typically handle the billing but are limited with support.
How to Select a Business Plan for Your Company
First, you need to understand what your user base is. Will there be a need for International Business Travel? What kind of service do you need? Meaning, is it just cellphones? or is it Data cards or IoT? Perhaps all the above? How much data will you need?
Next, you need to identify your cost-per-user. The MNO's have straight restrictions on how many users can be placed on a pooled or shared plan. This may create not only additional complexities to the offer, but also an atmosphere for overages. These charges can quickly add up.
Large data pools that support a lot of users are always the best option. These will help significantly in mitigating overage costs. Be sure to keep those line charges in mind though. A low costing data pool could come with a high per line cost which will inflate your per-user cost.
Customer support hours of operation and how they respond to an issue is important. Having support work only during business hours can have an impact on the end-user if they experience an issue during the time that support is closed.
Lastly, does the service work where you need it? Every network has great coverage that keeps getting better. However, every provider has dead zones. See if there can be a trial period to determine if that service is right for you.
Keep in mind that in some cases it may be beneficial to get service from multiple providers. Given that your employees all live and travel to different places, having that flexibility ensures maximum coverage. Because if you have no service in the places that matter most, does it really matter if you saved a few hundred dollars a month?