BlogUnbilled Usage: Why Overages Will Become More Common and How to Avoid Them

Unbilled Usage: Why Overages Will Become More Common and How to Avoid Them

September 13, 2018, Expense Management

By Scott Davis

I want you to take a second and imagine the following scenario. Let’s say your wireless bill last month was $80,000, a pretty typical month for your organization. Now, imagine the shock if you received an unexpected bill from your wireless provider for $800,000 — a 1000% increase over the previous month.

What would you think? You’d probably wonder, where did this increase come from? Was it an error? However, when radical increases happen, they are often no mistake. Sound outrageous? A similar scenario recently happened to a potential customer of ours. In this particular case, the resulting issue was due to a wireless access point not being configured correctly, causing a huge spike in overage charges on a low usage plan. While this may be an extreme case, it got me thinking about how having more insight into unbilled usage could have prevented this, and how current trends in data consumption may make this a more common concern.

Why This Problem Will Become More Common

It’s no secret that mobile data usage is rising rapidly. According to Ericsson, by 2022, smartphone traffic will have increased 10 times over the previous five years, at a compound annual growth rate of around 45 percent. North America leads the way, where the monthly mobile data traffic per active smartphone will reach 25 GB that same year. Factors driving usage include an increase in LTE subscriptions, improved capabilities of devices and more data-intensive content, as well as more attractive data plans from carriers.

Managing the rapid rise in mobile usage is key to minimizing wireless costs. However, there are other trends to contend with. This year in 2018, mobile phones are expected to be surpassed in number by IoT devices. According to Gartner, there will be around 21 billion IoT devices deployed by 2020 — outnumbering users with laptops, tablets or smartphones by more than a factor of three. This is a huge transformation for IT organizations, which often have issues identifying these devices and integrating them into current network policies.

The explosion of IoT, as well as related trends such as increasing machine to machine (M2M) communications and the overall rise in data consumption, makes the surprise of data usage overages all the more likely. As network usage rises, organizations that don’t properly manage it will face higher and often unexpected expenses. According to Gartner, enterprises will overspend on IoT connectivity services by more than 30% because they lack central management and usage analysis through 2019. However, by updating your organization’s usage tracking system now, your enterprise can avoid these unnecessary costs.

How You Can Avoid Overages Before They Happen

You may be wondering how your organization can avoid a situation like the above, and how you can avoid overspending on data usage in a world where it is being consumed at ever-higher rates.

What if you had more visibility to signal something was wrong? You could avoid potential bill shock and the hassle of disputing with the carrier. In the case of the customer mentioned above, we have empowered them with a software solution and processes that will help them prevent future instances of this problem. Having the right tools and processes in place can give your organization actionable insight to take appropriate measures for managing usage.

With the right solution, you can track your current month’s usage, receive alerts of any anomalies in that usage, and take corrective action to minimize risk and liability. You can identify users and devices that have excessive usage, as well as identify users and devices that have zero usage on a daily basis. This will help your enterprise right-size data plans, so you are not paying for what you don’t need or overpaying for what you do. You can avoid unexpected costs with preventative action and proactively correct problems in a timely manner.

Don’t let your organization become a cautionary tale. Avoid overpaying for telecom and be prepared for a data-hungry future by properly controlling and gaining visibility into your communications services.

To learn how having the right communications and cloud management solution in place can help prevent overages like this from ever occurring, contact us today.

Scott Davis talks TEM