One of the biggest challenges to managing your wireless telecom costs is establishing, then managing an inventory of all your cell phones and wireless cards. Even if you have as few as 100 wireless phones, establishing the inventory can be a challenge. Let run through the basics:
If you do not have on-line access to your wireless telecom service provider, get on-line now. AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and TMobile have different levels of information available, with AT&T offering the most and TMobile and Sprint offering the least, but any electronic data will be beneficial. Download the wireless inventory information from the web site. This can be hard to find, but it is generally available. At a minimum, you want a list of active cell phone and wireless card numbers. You need to know which number have voice service and which is only data.
Frequently, the wireless telecom carrier will have some identifying information in the inventory, such as: wireless user name, a department name, or cost center. This information is typically collected at the time the wireless devices is issued, but depending upon the controls in place and how long ago the information was provided, it will probably need to be verified. To verify your wireless telecom information, first compare the individuals listed by the carrier an independent source, such as an employee list from human resources. For the matches, update your wireless telecom inventory information with other information provided from the independent source. You may be able to update department codes, land line phone number, title, email, etc.
If you are like most companies, what is left is a list of unknown users. The only option here is to call each user (just the voice services, not the data services) and determine who is using the phone. Keep track of the voice mails you leave requesting a call back. After two calls without a return call, consider the device suspect. For wireless data cards, there is no way of voice verifying the owner, so all unidentified wireless data cards should considered suspect.
For suspect wireless telecom inventory, look at the usage patters – again using wireless carrier’s on-line portal. If the device does not have heavy usage, consider suspending it (not canceling!) and see if anyone calls to find out what happened to their service. If no one inquires about the lost service for 2 months, that wireless device can be considered for deactivation.
To maintain your wireless inventory, consider using a free telecom expense management (TEM) solution available on the internet. The TEM application will help you maintain the inventory you just completed and provide a platform for standardization across wireless carriers.
Establishing a wireless telecom inventory is a somewhat manual process, but the results could yield significant savings. When completed, use a TEM solution to keep your inventory up to date and enjoy the reduced wireless telecom costs into the future.