Last night I got to have dinner with a good friend who just got his first smart phone. Yes I know it’s 2012, he’s young and has a good job but he could not justify to himself spending the money. He’s frugal and spends his money on travel and likes to save a good deal so he can put money down on a house. But finally Ben (my friend) got his hands on an iPhone 4, popped his sim card in and went for it. For Ben it ended up not being a hard decision because he’s on a comparatively inexpensive plan for what he gets. For $45 from a company called Straight Talk he get’s unlimited talk, text and internet use. This compares to T-Mobile that charges approximately $95 including only a 5GB data plan.
So my thought is, if you have a cell phone (which I imagine you do) and if you provide cell phones to your employees, why not go with a prepaid service like this? I know Americans don’t typically have high regard for prepaid cell phone companies but this is not just saving your company a few dollars, we’re talking about hundreds if not thousands of dollars every month.
Additionally many of the prepaid service providers also known as MVNO’s (mobile virtual network operators) buy their voice, text and data service from the major cell phone providers. So if AT&T is the only service that works in your office (which is my case) then pick a sim from a company that uses their towers.
Now there are a few caveats. I haven’t studied the Straight Talk website but according to what I glanced at and my friend Ben, MMS messages can be a problem sometimes and you may not get 4G on some phones. Plus you can’t roam outside of the US. Is that a problem for some people? Yes it is. Is buying an international roaming sim a stop gap and more economical? Maybe. Plus if you’re using Phone.com you can just forward your calls to the international roaming sims number and your callers won’t know the difference.
In terms of saving your company money, I think considering prepaid phone service is a legitimate and potentially cost saving option. You’ll have to crunch some numbers but it seems like a viable option to me. Lastly with Straight Talk in particular and I don’t know all that much about them, you can bring your T-Mobile, AT&T phones (even if they are locked) or any unlocked GSM phone to use with them.
***I’m not making any recommendations for any service in this blog post except Phone.com.