The digital world is undoubtedly a part of almost everyone’s daily life and having a phone for work is useful for a whole host of reasons.
But for small businesses, deciding on the best provider and plan can be a time-consuming experience, and many decision makes are tempted to simply ‘go with what they know, rather than look for the service and provider that’s going to give them the most for their money.
We’ve taken a look at business mobile plans, comparing the services and functionality – so if you’re making decisions for a small business, you’ll be able to see what benefits, drawbacks, and options are available to help you save money.
What Should You be Looking for in Your Business Phone Plan?
Very few people use their phone simply to make calls, with apps and extras making the device multifunctional and much more useful, it’s important to decide what options are absolutely necessary, which ones are nice to have, and which ones aren’t important or needed for your business.
- Data allowances
- Call costs
- Network speed
- Handset options
- Contract lengths
- Customer service
- Payment plans
- Fees and Penalties
– at a minimum, these areas need to be looked at, in order to find the most functional and cost-effective option.
What is your priority? Some providers are better at providing individual services than others, so you should consider whether you’re looking for overall usage, speed, coverage, functionality, payment options, etc before you sign any contracts.
Comparing Mobile Providers for Businesses
Not all phone providers make it easy to determine their costs – whilst some are straightforward with how much their business coverage starts from, others keep that hidden and require prospective customers to contact them.
So rather than simply focusing on cost (which we will provide if it’s made clear), we’re going to look at the different providers, what they offer in their packages, and the type of services you can expect from them.
Vodafone are considered one of the best business options by many companies and reviewers, with a variety of contract lengths, trade-in options (up to £600), and Business Broadband support options.
Offering capability for 4G and 5G (depending on location and device), their contracts have options for unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and 1GB – unlimited data
Other features that Vodafone offer include:
- SIM only deals
- Roaming availability in 77 destinations
- Fast, reliable network
- Capped plans as well as Unlimited Data plans
- Large network capability
- Flexible and personalised plans available
O2 for Business:
O2 has a huge variety of packages, services, and customisable options. Their pricing structures are split out to provide for small businesses, medium sized ventures, and large organisations.
Prices for O2 vary depending on the size of the business, but their tariff information clearly outlines what is included in each plan, and who it will be beneficial for, although it does require customers to contact to be quoted a cost.
Some of the options that O2 offer include:
- 5G enabled tariffs
- Data rollover
- Flexible upgrades and new connections
- More than 16,000 UK wi-fi hotspots
- Boostbox plug in for broadband to boost signal
- Europe roaming option
- Wi-Fi and 4G calling
Virgin Media have now partnered with O2 for phones and tablets for small businesses, so we won’t be looking at Virgin individually.
The business products for 3 cover phones, SIM only options, mobile broadband, and their ‘Boundless Offer’ which has been designed to connect with their Unlimited Multi SIM plan – this offer works by providing greater value for more connections, the price per month for one SIM is £16, but for between 10 and 20 it reduces to £9.17 per SIM (a saving of £68.30 per month), which makes it a fantastic option for companies with more company phones in use.
Some of the services offered by 3 include:
- Analytics on usage and spend
- Dedicated business support team
- Business Price Promise
- The UK’s fastest 5G network
- 99% (combined) UK coverage for 3G and 4G
- ‘Go Binge’ feature allowing for media (such as Netflix, Apple Music etc) use without counting towards data costs
Voted as the UK’s Best Network for nine consecutive years, EE offers flexibility, reliability, and a wide range of supported devices. The company also run a Stay Connected Data scheme, which businesses can use if they go over their data allowance – EE promises that customers will stay connected and be able to use business critical apps (email, WhatsApp, maps) at a slower speed (0.5Mbps).
EE offers handsets, upgrades, SIM only options, and mobile broadband, and has specific Business Plan options for companies of varying sizes.
Some of the functionality they offer includes:
- 4G and 5G supported networks (depending on location)
- Advice on cutting running costs
- Dedicated account management and customer service
- The UK’s fastest overall network (42.6Mbps compared to their nearest rival with 19.0Mbps)
- Remote working solutions
- Free delivery on new devices
- EE Lifetime Guarantee on all phone and tablet plans
Making the Decision and Keeping an Eye on the Data
Once you’ve signed up to your mobile plan, it’s important to keep an eye not only on the costs, but also how the phones are being used – if, for example, the majority of your team aren’t making use of high data levels, and you’re paying extra for the privilege, then it’s a cost you can reduce without negatively impacting your business operations!
Companies like 3 and EE, who offer analytics or advice as part of their support might be a great choice, if you’ve got a bigger team and can’t afford to spend the time researching or monitoring the data yourself. But, if you’ve only got a small number of business phones, and it wouldn’t inconvenience you to look up the information yourself, then you need to consider other parts of their offering to determine whether they’re for you.
By keeping an eye on what you’re being offered, how much competitors are charging, and making sure you know exactly when your contracts are due to be renewed, you put yourself in a better position to get a better deal, and save yourself money.