A new shared mobile data plan for families could also be a boon for small businesses. This week AT&T unveiled the plan, which makes it cheaper to add up to 10 off-contract lines to an existing account. That could amount to a savings for employers who provide workers with smartphones, but don't want to be tied to a 2-year contract for each line.
The plan starts at $130 per month for two off-contract lines, with unlimited talk and texting and 10GB of shared mobile data. It now costs $15 to add an extra line; previously it cost $25. You can upgrade the plan to include more than 10GB of data, if your employees need it, but the shared plan is capped at 10 phone lines. Still, the new discounted rate could benefit offices with just a handful of employees. And because no contracts are involved, you can terminate a line at any time.
Most workers already own a smartphone, but buying company-owned phones for business use has plenty of advantages. The practice is much more secure than allowing your employees to handle sensitive or private data on their personal devices. And if an employee leaves, you retain his or her phone number, providing a smooth transition for existing clients and customers. And let's face it: a smartphone helps workers stay connected and productive when away from the office, so it behooves your business to ensure all your employees have one.