If you’re thinking about dropping your office landline and opting for a mobile phone plan, you wouldn’t be alone. At the current rate of crossover, all U.S. landlines are expected to be disconnected by 2025, according to Think Small Cell. But, in the immediate future, deciding whether to use mobile phones or a landline service for your business depends on several different factors.
Questions to ask Yourself
1. Do employees stay in the office or do they travel?
The main deciding factor about using landlines or mobile phones for your business is if employees are mobile on the job or not. If you run a store, chances are you and your employees remain in the store most of the time. If you operate in a fixed office, your employees likely work at their desks. In both of these situations, mobile phones would not be necessary. But if your business is mobile, involving regular travel for meetings and sales calls, then a landline is not feasible for keeping employees in touch with customers.
2. Do employees need texting?
In addition to phone calls, a popular way for people and businesses to communicate is through text/SMS messaging. Landlines do not have this capability, so mobile has the added benefit of enabling employees to send quick messages and updates to each other regarding the day’s work.
3. Do employees need to access company information on apps or the Cloud?
With the expanse of mobile phones came the explosion of apps and their varied utility. Businesses not only use common apps for organization, but they also create proprietary apps in-house for employees to communicate and keep task management organized. You cannot, however, use apps with a landline.
One related capability is Cloud access. The Cloud connects documents, files and other data to all devices hooked up to it, which is then accessible no matter where employees are. Cloud computing revolutionized business communication and streamlined the collaboration process for workers, and mobile is both the reason for and the way that Cloud computing functions for businesses.
4. Where is the office located?
Some areas of the country, such as rural areas, still do not have fixed-line broadband technology available in their area due to lack of cable lines running through their city. Mobile broadband, however, is able to reach farther and connects more land mass than a single landline Internet connection.
5. What is your phone technology budget?
Cost can be another issue for businesses setting up their internal communications. Depending on your structure, it may save you money to install a landline system for everyone to use instead of buying cell phones for everyone. Keep in mind the installation costs that accompany landlines, but both services come with monthly fee and equipment expenses. If you have some employees who are mobile and some who aren’t, make sure you don’t duplicate service. Let the mobile phone be their phone system, whether they’re in the office or on the road.
Downsides to Mobile Phones
Mobile communication is not without its drawbacks. While in some ways mobile phones can save a business money, it can conversely cost more depending on the needs of that business. These are some of the risks you must consider if you’re looking at transitioning your business to mobile services.
1. Paying for a lot of cell phones can get expensive.
If the business only needs a few phones, mobile may still be cost-effective. But if the business starts adding on too many phones, the cost of each individual plan can add up. Consider the plan options, as they range in price depending on how the business plans to use the phone, such as strictly for calls or for texts and data, where additional costs can build quickly.
2. You run the risk of losing connection.
Because mobile phones travel, employees could potential lose the phone, have it stolen, or it could get damaged. Not only does this add an extra expense, but any of these cut off communication with the employee until a new phone can be purchased. Similarly, if the phone’s battery dies and a device charger is not accessible, that will also prevent communication between employees, customers, and management.
3. Essential company data could end up in the wrong hands.
If a cell phone is lost or stolen, or if an unhappy coworker takes it after quitting or being fired, your sensitive company information may fall into the wrong hands. Many businesses have to keep track of customers’ credit card information, for example, and non-employees could access that information if an employee loses the phone.
4. You never know what your service will be like.
A landline almost always guarantees a clear voice connection from that end of the line. With mobile phones, however, this clear connection is not always so definite. Between rural areas or dead zones, like basement offices or other enclosed areas, mobile phones may not always have a strong and clear connection, which can prevent communication.
Whether you decide to go with a landline or mobile phone is going to depend on your industry, operations, and other specific aspects of your individual business. Examine what you need your phone lines for, and weigh the pros and cons of each before determining which phone plan to invest in.
Image by Irita Kirsbluma via Flickr