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How do I choose the best mobile phones and network for my business?

08 Feb 2020

Looking to switch to a new mobile network? We outline some of the key considerations and extras you can get from each of the UK’s major mobile providers along with tips and tricks to help you pick the best smartphone and tariff to suit your business needs.  Predict Mobile makes it easy to compare and evaluate a range of offers from mobile suppliers.

As mobile infrastructure in the UK improves, many networks have the ambition to expand and adapt to developments in new technology. EE is the current frontrunner – this ambition to expand is made possible by the fact that EE can use BT’s infrastructure as well as their own. That’s because they’ve been owned and operated by BT since 2016. As such, they’ve already been making use of BT’s fibre network to support the switch-on of 4G services in previously uncovered areas. As a result, EE have been named the best performing mobile operator by RootMetrics in their annual performance report for five years in a row.

Which mobile network is best depends on the coverage in the places we live and work. EE have the best UK-wide coverage, reaching more of the population than any other provider. They also offer the best overall network service, with the fastest 4G and potentially 5G speeds. Those living in major cities and towns will likely have access to good coverage from most network operators. Customers in these locations can therefore pick and choose between them depending on package price and other preferences.

Customers in less densely populated or rural areas will have less choice, with often just one or operators that provides decent coverage. But as we mentioned, mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) can offer some additional choice and lower package costs too.

Choosing the right smartphone for your business

There are five key things to decide when choosing the right smartphone for your business:

  1. Battery life. Finding a phone with good battery life ensures your staff will always have access to their phone on the go.
  2. Screen resolution and size. Most smartphones have high resolution screens, but there’s a variety of sizes to choose from. Do your staff need big screens to use on the job or will the smaller variety be adequate for the occasional email?
  3. Power and storage capability. Do you run business apps which require a fair bit of battery life? Will salespeople need to store considerable amounts of media to take along to meetings?
  4. CameraWill your staff need a good camera take professional-looking photos or simply use the phone to take an occasionally snap for your social media feed?

Choosing the right network and tariff

There are two key things to consider when searching for the best smartphone tarriff for your business:

  • The type of handsets you need. By narrowing down the choices, you should have a firm idea of the best handsets for your business. The smartphone you choose is likely to dictate the tariff options available to you.
  • Intended usage. Will your phones be largely used for calling or will there be a significant requirement for data usage? Will your users need to make international calls?

The most cost-effective business mobile phone tariffs usually involve signing a contract with a network provider for a minimum of 12 to 24 months. Smartphones can be lost, damaged or stolen, too, so it is important to factor in the cost of insurance when choosing a business tariff.

Here are some of the most common tariffs and options available to businesses and a short description of what they mean:

  • Bolt-ons. Add additional inclusive minutes, texts and data allowances to your pay monthly or pay as you go contracts such as extra data and roaming.
  • Separate bills for devices and service. Some providers will bill you separately for devices and the service, which can be convenient from an accounting perspective.
  • Not all business phone contracts include allowances for international calls. If your staff are often overseas, seek out tariffs with good international roaming rates.
  • Pay Monthly. One, fixed monthly payment for all devices and tariffs. Any talk time or data used above the allowances will be charged separately. Easy to budget for and the most common type of business tariff.
  • Pay As You Go (PAYG). Top-up your mobile phone accounts when credit runs out. Provides tight control on usage, but can be tricky from a practicality and administrative perspective.
  • Some providers will offer contracts with no fixed term and which allow you to upgrade hardware and change the tariff at any point.

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