End users will drive down mobile costs: Ericsson

IT managers have a great weapon in their fight to reduce mobile phone costs, says Ericsson’s enterprise division president Lars Svensson — the end user.

In Auckland to talk to the New Zealand Police about a new telecommunications system the Swedish equipment vendor is involved in, Svensson says the average corporate mobile user will typically use five or six times the traffic of a consumer. “Now that businesses realise the tremendous cost of mobile phone calls they can use this power to approach the network operators and negotiate better deals.”

Svensson says the integration of mobile devices into the corporate network is continuing after a rocky couple of years for the industry.

“Initially we had phones with [personal information managers] built in. Currently we’re building in the horizontal applications, email and mobile extensions and so on.” Svensson says once these sorts of applications are integrated with mobile devices, IT managers will see a sharp increase in productivity.

“Research says around 86% of business users spend one day a week out of the office, but even that doesn’t begin to tell the true story. People at work rarely sit at their desks all day long.” Svensson says by connecting cellphones to the office network users are part of the network all day long. They will be able to use their cellphones as office phones, with all the functionality that implies in the way of call handling, as well as the flexibility of a mobile device.

“In Stockholm calls from one company cellphone to another are treated as calls on the company’s own network, and so are offered free, regardless of where the people are. That’s a huge cost saving to most businesses.”

Svensson doesn’t think the network operators are right to target the consumer market with 3G phones as they don’t need the speed at the moment.

“I get free voice calls on my mobile because I’m on a data plan, but I don’t use it for data as a consumer. I don’t make video calls, I use it for voice.” Having said that, the phone, a wideband CDMA unit capable of connecting at 384kbit/s is the “best bloody modem I’ve ever had”.

Svensson believes the telecommunications boom of the 1980s was driven by monopolies and the 1990s were driven by telco vendors. He’s hopeful that the new decade will finally be driven by end users.

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