Unmanaged roaming on business trips costs European companies £2.4BN a year

European businesses are overspending by at least 50% and wasting more than £2.4 billion per year through unmanaged connectivity charges from business travellers on international trips, a report has revealed.

The Wi-Fi Cost Index report, compiled by mobile services firm iPass, found that during 2012 European business travellers made 65.1 million international business trips. The average spend on essential connectivity (per traveller, per trip) was £73.91 within Europe, £128.73 to the USA, and £138.56 to Asia.

This equates to European business travellers, merely to get online, spending a minimum of £4.8 billion in 2012. In contrast, enabling business travellers with a global Wi-Fi network would realise savings of at least 50%, equivalent to £2.4 billion per year, the report claimed.

“Mobile working has become ingrained in the fabric of many businesses, yet even in today’s cost-cutting environment, businesses are wasting money unnecessarily by failing to manage connectivity services and costs for their business travellers when working abroad,” said Rene Hendrikse, VP EMEA at iPass.

“Business travellers expect connectivity across multiple devices, wherever they go, in order to work productively. Failure to see connectivity as an essential part of business travel is badly bruising business’s wallets.”

>See also: Mobile data roamers to generate half of roaming revenue by 2018

The Wi-Fi Cost Index outlined the actual costs of connectivity for business travellers and the impact of unchecked mobile data roaming costs.

According to the report, when roaming, the average business traveler will use 3G or 4G 40% of the time within the EU, and 30% of the time outside of the EU; the rest of the time using Wi-Fi.

The average spend on Wi-Fi day passes was £22.30 within the EU, £18.51 in the US, and £27.96 in Asia per traveller, per trip, while the average spend on data roaming within Europe was £51.36, and £109.69 in the US and Asia per traveller, per trip.

In Europe, the average per MB cost for data usage was £0.37, and in the US and Asia, £1.43 .The typical daily MB usage by a business traveler was between 2720 MB and 5754 MB, from a range of tasks including checking email, web browsing, Skype calls, WebEx, and downloading files such as presentations and PDFs. The typical business trip lasted four days.

“Enterprises are being stung by a lack of advance planning around how to enable mobile workers with high-bandwidth connectivity,” Hendrikse said. “Merely incorporating data roaming charges or bills from one-off Wi-Fi access into departmental expenses means that the true extent of the cost of mobility is often hidden.

“Access to connectivity is undeniably vital for productivity; in this environment it’s more critical than ever for businesses to look for ways to make the mobile working experience more productive for staff, and more cost effective. Providing access to a global network of wireless hotspots is one key way to help.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...