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There’s no need to feel the heat this summer when it comes to employee roaming and bill shock.

Business travel is on the up

At the end of last year, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation predicted that total spend would expand by 4.9% year-on-year by the end of 2014, and then 6.6% in 2015.

In the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, business travel spend is expected to reach €156.8 billion by the end of 20151.

The near ubiquity of smart devices, cloud services and record consumption of data on the move has changed mobile working extensively. Corporate mobile devices support responsiveness, productivity and remote access to colleagues, information and applications.

But at this time of the year, devices that slip into the suitcases of employees travelling overseas for holidays or work can soon become a financial risk if employees are unaware of the hidden costs of using their phones abroad.

Maximum price caps for data roaming, which were introduced by the European Union in July 2014, have gone some way towards reducing the impact of employees using data abroad, and there are further measures in the pipeline that will eventually see data roaming charges in the EU abolished in 2017.

However, under current legislation, the costs can quickly add up if employees are following links, downloading large files, streaming high bandwidth media or travelling beyond the EU. So what can be done? In short, businesses can gain greater overall control and avert the potential risks of ‘bill-shock’ by:

  1. Ensuring they have the right tariff in place
  2. Properly educating employees and providing clear guidelines for acceptable overseas device and data usage

Today’s enterprise has the ability to replace traditional roaming charges with innovative tariffs that, for a small fee, allow employees to use their home tariff abroad. With this, businesses can provide employees with the freedom to use corporate devices as they choose while travelling, with the assurance that they will be on the most cost-effective tariff at all times.

This would allow the downloading of files, fast-web browsing or sending emails without exposing the company to financial risk.

GBTA Business Travel Index Outlook – Western Europe (November 2014):