Recently, Gartner released an updated forecast on enterprise communication services that was intriguing, to say the least. There were a number of key projections, but there was one that really caught our eye: Gartner predicts North America is likely to begin forming one roaming zone next year.
What other interesting findings were in the report? And what should North American businesses do to prepare for the single roaming zone? Read on to find out.
The Gartner Predictions (About North America)
The entire Gartner forecast addresses coming developments in enterprise communications worldwide; we won’t be touching on that. Instead, we’ll just cover the meat of the updates: Projected changes in North America. Here are the major predictions:
- So, let’s start with the big one: Gartner expects Canada, the US, and Mexico to start becoming just one calling zone area by 2016 and that, when that happens, other Latin American countries will follow suit. This merging of the zones would be similar to the situation in Europe. All told, the analysts project a single North American zone to be in place sometime after 2019. They also expect that by 2020, the total number of global mobile zones will drop to three or four by 2020.
- Enterprise roaming mobile and voice traffic will rise by 5-10%, and enterprise spending on mobile data will rise as well (despite the abolition of roaming charges).
- Nonetheless, the elimination of roaming charges will have an impact on provider revenues (However, we note this is an opportunity for providers to offer new services and value bundles).
- Customers will most likely reassess their contracts in response to such a change in calling zones.
Now, assuming those predictions come true, what should North American businesses keep in mind about their enterprise mobility?
The North American Single Calling Zone and You
- Policy Review
If you haven’t done a (regular) review of your organization’s mobility policies, you should really get ready to do one very soon. If all of North America becomes a single calling zone, the way your employees do their jobs will change forever. This will be true of the way they use the access that increased mobility affords them to do their jobs, and the volume of mobile services they’ll consume.
These changes will impact the way you pay for this usage, starting with how you manage the initial changeover. Whatever rates you had before will be altered, and you need to keep on top of the differences to ensure that your budget planning makes sense in light of the single calling zone.
On a separate note, should a single zone come to pass in North America, you might want to consider assigning more phones to more employees. The rates should certainly become cheaper, and the greater communication access can certainly open up more opportunity for your business.
- Modifications to Rate Plans
A single calling zone is predicted to affect the bottom line of providers. And in an era where there’s an expectation of ever-falling prices for services, it would be unthinkable for prices to be raised elsewhere to offset revenue drops that stem from Gartner’s projected single calling zone. Feature bundles will most probably be modified while the prices will remained unchanged. It’s something you’ll have to keep in mind when the time comes to renew your contracts.
- Value of IT and telecom expense management (TEM)
Without sounding self-serving, the Gartner report actually cites TEM (and by extension, wireless expense management (WEM)) as a valuable tool for organizations when dealing with single calling zones. Although they reference TEM as being useful in the European Union when they made the switch over to a single calling zone, the principles hold for North America as well.
In particular, Gartner believes that TEM providers will be very helpful in helping customers source competitive carrier offerings. They further state that, because of the visibility into mobile asset inventory and usage that mobile expense management furnishes users, TEM providers will give their customers greater efficiencies and strategies on mobile usage.
The takeaway message here is that you should consult with your wireless expense management provider now to devise strategies to handle the possible North American single calling zone. Better to be proactive than reactive, after all. If you don’t already have a provider, contact us – we are the leading experts in Canada, and we’ll help you through any challenges you have with your IT and telecom assets.