In the U.S., most smartphones are purchased from carriers on a subsidized model, which allows consumers and businesses to spread the cost of the device over a 24-month mobile service plan. This subsidized approach is appealing on the surface, since there is no big, upfront financial hit. However, the 24-month plan can result in higher total costs over the device lifetime and mobile plan lock-in.

A recent study by Gartner found that purchasing smartphones outright and negotiating mobile connectivity separately can save more than 20 percent when compared to opting for subsidized devices as part of a plan. The same research predicted that by the end of 2020, 25 percent of smartphones purchased for corporate-liable programs will be unsubsidized, compared to just 5 percent at the end of 2016.

Time to Go Unlocked?

In most cases, opting to go unsubsidized also means going “unlocked.” Unlocked smartphones are devices that are not tied to a specific carrier. They are purchased direct from the manufacturer or an approved reseller, and activated with a SIM card from a carrier of your choice.

Carrier connectivity is the single largest cost component of employee mobility, representing 48-55 percent of total costs, according to a study by Oxford Economics. Unlocked smartphones deliver freedom and flexibility in terms of negotiating mobile service plans, but there are also several other key benefits for businesses. If you are wondering if unlocked smartphones are the answer for your business, consider the following questions:

#1. Do Your Employees Spend Most of Their Time on WiFi?

If your employees spend most of their time on on-premises, you can eliminate carrier plan costs entirely by using an unlocked phone exclusively as a smart WiFi device. WiFi-only phones can meet the needs of many teams, including healthcare professionals at a hospital, sales associates in retail and finance professionals at bank branches.

#2. Do You Have Employees Who Frequently Travel Internationally?

Traditional carrier contracts aren’t designed to accommodate the data requirements for employees who travel internationally for work due to expensive roaming fees which quickly rack up while abroad. Unlocked phone are compatible with any SIM card, allowing businesses to cost-effectively provide data to frequent fliers. Providing global mobile service is as simple as popping in a prepaid SIM card.

#3. Do Your Employees Want to Choose Their Own Carriers?

The average U.S. worker spends up to 44 hours each year dealing with the impacts of poor cellular network coverage on productivity, according to Coleman Parkes research. Network strength can vary drastically by location. The carrier that provides the best coverage in one region may not have quality voice and data in another area.

A single carrier network may not meet your needs if your business has multiple offices nationwide or employees who frequently perform domestic travel. Unlocked devices provide your employees with the freedom to choose carriers based on regional network strength or personal preference.

#4. Is a Standard-Issue Employee Mobile Phone Important?

Going unlocked means you are able to deploy a single, standard smartphone model to all employees, rather than multiple different carrier variants. In larger mobile deployments, this standardization can make life much easier for IT teams.

For one thing, inventory management becomes simpler as IT will only need to keep spares on-hand of a single model. Mobile device management is also simplified as you’ll be applying policies across a uniform device fleet. Lastly, unlocked phones have fewer preloaded apps from carriers which might not be useful to all workers. Having fewer preloaded apps streamlines device configuration for tightly-defined user experiences in healthcare, public safety, and other industries.

Opening New Possibilities to Transform Enterprise Mobility

The Unlocked by Samsung Portfolio gives businesses the freedom to select the smartphone, carrier, data plan and services they need. The extensive portfolio includes the latest flagship devices like the Galaxy Note9, S9 and S9+, as well as a range of cost-effective, enterprise-ready smartphones like the Galaxy J7 and J3.

Learn more about the Samsung Unlocked portfolio and how it can empower your business to do more.

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Jasmine Henry

Jasmine Henry (formerly Jasmine W. Gordon) is a Seattle-based commentator and freelance journalist specializing in analytics, information security and other emerging tech trends. Henry holds an MS in Informatics & Analytics from Lipscomb University in Nashville, where she also completed a graduate certificate in Health Care Informatics. Her work has appeared in Forbes, Time, Reuters, HR Professionals Magazine, ADP Spark, HP Tektonika, Mimecast and dozens of other publications.

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