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Tuesday, Dec 6, 2022
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How to Shrink Cell Phone Data Bills

The more things change, the more they stay the same, even in the fast-moving mobile phone market. Cellular Billing Consultants in Thousand Oaks helps companies manage phone costs. Recently the market has changed so that data, not phone calls, loom as the biggest cost challenge, but a lack of transparency in the industry remains stubbornly the same. “Cell phone bills are no easier to read now than they were 20 years ago,” said Mindy Prowler, owner of Cellular Billing Consultants. “A company might pay for 20 gigabytes, but when the bill comes, the data is shown in megabytes and kilobytes. You have to tear that bill apart and do some calculations before you know for sure that you’re using what you’re paying for.” Recently Prowler trimmed $8,000 from a client’s monthly bill by switching plans to avoid roaming charges during trips in Canada. To audit your own cell bill, Prowler suggests starting with phones no longer in use. If you put a line on hold or standby, the carrier will reactivate and charge for it after the specified idle time expires. Next, calculate your cost per phone. If a company’s bill, not including equipment charges, is $1,400 for 25 phones, the cost per unit is $56 a month. “I would tag that as a little high and dig a bit deeper to see where we could save,” Prowler said. Then look at the data use and compare it to the data plan for each phone. Carriers usually group phones under different plans; the strategy is to “rebalance,” so each account only pays for the level of data it uses, while avoiding overcharges. “It’s not an overstatement to say that if a company hasn’t reviewed its wireless bills, they’re paying too much,” she said. If the exercise proves frustrating, it’s time to either call the carrier or a consultant such as Prowler. She charges no money upfront; her company gets half the savings for the first three months after the audit. She has two support personnel, but Prowler performs the audits herself. Data use in the country tripled between 2013 and 2015, according to cell phone trade group CTIA. Prowler predicts “data usage will continue to go up as users are more comfortable using their apps.” – Joel Russell

Joel Russel
Joel Russel
Joel Russell joined the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2006 as a reporter. He transferred to sister publication San Fernando Valley Business Journal in 2012 as managing editor. Since he assumed the position of editor in 2015, the Business Journal has been recognized four times as the best small-circulation tabloid business publication in the country by the Alliance of Area Business Publishers. Previously, he worked as senior editor at Hispanic Business magazine and editor of Business Mexico.
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