Having choices is always a good thing, especially when it comes to your mobile device plan, which is why unlocked smartphones are gaining traction. According to a report by NPD Connected Intelligence, approximately 30 million U.S. consumers currently own unlocked mobile devices, comprising 12.5 percent of the smartphone market — and this number is expected to continue to grow.

For the enterprise, the benefits of unlocked phones, which allow users to choose any carrier and connectivity plan, and don’t require a contract, aren’t only about greater choice. Unlocked phones can provide businesses significant cost savings and streamline device management for IT.

Lower your total cost of ownership.

Many organizations purchase phones with carrier subsidies because it has the advantage of spreading the cost of the purchase over the lifecycle of the device. The downside is that this model also locks the buyer into a service contract with a specific carrier — and this can actually increase the total cost of ownership (TCO).

According to a recent Gartner study, buying unsubsidized devices and negotiating a carrier service plan separately saves up to 20 percent over the device’s lifecyle.

Pay only for the services you need.

In addition to lowering service plan fees, in some business situations, you may want a compact device like a smartphone, but only need internet connectivity in the workplace. Because unlocked phones aren’t tied to a carrier, they can be used as Wi-Fi-only devices. By cutting out cellular connectivity contracts on these Wi-Fi-only devices, companies can reap significant savings while gaining the benefits of having employees use a mobile device.

For example, retail associates equipped with mobile POS terminals can conduct transactions on the store floor. Unlocked devices can also be used in healthcare to provide a private communications network that complies with healthcare privacy requirements or can be used by warehouse employees to scan inventory more cost-effectively.

Travel freely and avoid roaming charges.

For business users who travel frequently, especially internationally, having an unlocked device makes it easier and more cost-effective to stay connected while away. With an unlocked phone, you can simply swap in a local SIM card to connect to a local network that offers better rates and avoid roaming charges and other international fees.

Improve device management.

Adopting unlocked devices can also streamline device management by allowing an organization to standardize on one model. This results in inventory management cost savings since there is no longer a need to keep spare devices from each carrier. Device standardization also makes application testing easier, since there are fewer devices you need to test.

Streamline your IT purchasing.

Another advantage of unlocked smartphones is that you can purchase unlocked phones from your IT solution provider who supports other IT infrastructure for your organization. This can make integration into other IT systems and applications easier and allow your IT solution provider to support a range of services if your IT team has limited resources to handle mobile management.

Having choices when it comes to carrier and service plans gives IT the flexibility to customize and provision exactly the device they need for their users — not only saving time and money, but also enabling the delivery of a more streamlined, accessible device to end users to that they can complete their tasks more efficiently and effectively.

See what additional benefits unlocked smartphones can bring to your enterprise.