Buy or DIY? Adding Up the Costs of Corporate Mobile

Jan 20, 2022

According to a study by Celerity, 64% of executives say that technology investments have led to gains in workplace productivity. And as hybrid and remote work models become the norm, it’s no longer a question of whether you should invest in corporate mobile devices, it’s how much.

But the answer to that question isn’t exactly straightforward. When considering your company’s investment in corporate mobility, there are a number of costs beyond the devices alone, and all costs can vary significantly from one organization to another. Between service plans, end user support, IT and administrative overheads, and beyond, there are a number of factors to consider.

Many companies choose to manage corporate mobile in-house, as they feel it gives them more control and visibility over their corporate devices. But that’s not always true. In-house mobility management is expensive, both in terms of resources and money. For companies looking to cut costs and get ahead of their competition, outsourcing mobility management is often the answer.

To help you better understand which option is best for your organization, we added up the true costs of in-house mobility management, then explain how outsourcing can help.

The cost of corporate mobile devices

The total cost of purchasing corporate mobile devices will vary depending on the models you choose, where you buy them from, and the conditions of your contract. But according to a study by Oxford Economics, companies spend an average of roughly $300 per device.

Keep in mind that the cost of devices can sometimes include subsidies from signing up for contracts or other promos, so if you want to purchase premium devices that are unlocked and free from contracts, you might end up spending more.

The cost of corporate mobile service plans

Like the cost of the actual devices, the amount you spend on corporate mobile service plans will vary depending on your organization’s needs, the plans you choose, the number of devices on your account, and more. However, it’s worth noting that businesses often pay less than consumers when it comes to mobile service plans, largely due to volume pricing.

According to the Oxford Economics study, a company with 500 employees can expect to pay about $36.50 per month per line for mobile voice and data, while a company with 10,000 employees spends around $32.50 per month, per device.

Overhead costs (managing and supporting mobile devices)

For consumers that want to stay connected, the only costs are their device and accompanying service plan. But unfortunately for businesses, there are additional costs. Devices and plans must be provisioned, set up, managed, and monitored for compliance. Most of these costs fall onto IT teams, but additional support may be needed from legal, HR, and payroll departments, which increases the total cost.

According to the Oxford study, a company with 500 employees can expect to spend about $650 on overhead costs per employee over a two year period. For an organization with 10,000 employees, that number drops to about $360 per employee over the same period, mostly due to economies of scale.

The cost of MDM software

Corporate mobility management is not as simple as hiring an IT team to purchase, deploy, and manage devices. In order to ensure mobile policies are being followed, oversee the fleet, and ensure corporate data is secure, the vast majority of companies use MDM software.

According to the Oxford study, a company with 500 employees spends an average of $102 on software per employee over a two year period. For a company with 10,000 employees, that estimate drops to $90 per employee over a two year period. However, companies that require additional security features and information protection functions can expect to spend up to 1.8x as much on MDM solutions.

The total cost of corporate mobile

Based on the cost of the devices themselves, the mobile voice and data plans, the overhead costs, and the cost of MDM solutions, the Oxford study estimates that a 500-employee company spends a total of $1,817 per employee over a standard two-year contract. This represents an annual investment of $908.50 per employee. For a 10,000-employee organization, the estimate drops to $1,408 per employee over the same period, which works out to $704 annually.

Hidden costs

The costs of corporate mobile add up quickly, but in order to determine if an in-house or outsourced approach is right for you, there are a number of hidden costs to consider, too.


If your company manages your fleet of mobile devices in house, the responsibility likely falls on your IT team. And with hundreds, if not thousands of devices to oversee, that can be extremely time consuming. The time that your IT team commits to managing devices could be better spent on higher priority IT tasks and other important job functions.


If you don’t already have an IT team in place to manage your corporate mobile devices, you’ll need to hire one. In 2021, that’s not so easy. Finding, interviewing, onboarding, and training new IT employees can take months, and there are additional monetary costs of bringing them on board. Plus, if they aren’t familiar with the processes, systems, and software you use, it will take even longer before they are able to manage your corporate devices effectively.


While essential, provisioning and deploying corporate mobile devices isn’t the hard part. Managing them and keeping them secure is. If your in-house team isn’t well-versed in the security aspect of corporate mobility, there are serious mobile security threats that could lead to lost or compromised data, leaks, and other vulnerabilities that could be extremely costly in the long run.

Misplaced devices

While an IT team and MDM software can help you manage your devices, things can still happen. Devices often end up lost, stolen, or buried in a box of old phones, never to be used again. Cell phones are expensive, and they can last a long time, so it’s important to consider what to do with them after your contract ends or if an employee leaves. If you don’t, you could be leaving money on the table.


Whether your employees get tech support from your IT team or the carrier directly, they could end up waiting hours or days to solve their issues. This could lead to extended periods of downtime, reduced productivity, missed opportunities, and more.

Should you outsource corporate mobile?

Now that you understand the true (and hidden) costs of corporate mobile, you might want to consider an outsourced partner. By offloading your corporate mobile management tasks to a team that specializes in enterprise mobility management, you can save both time and money, ensure your approach to corporate mobile is efficient and effective, and gain an edge over your competition. Here’s how.

Analyze your mobility policy

If your team isn’t intimately familiar with corporate mobility, there are almost certainly going to be inefficiencies. A managed services provider can analyze your approach to corporate mobile, helping you discover opportunities for cost savings, identify inefficiencies, and streamline your approach.

Free up IT resources

By outsourcing your corporate mobile tasks, you can relieve your IT team from the burden of managing all of your devices in house. With those tasks off their plate, they can focus on more important job functions and higher priorities. And if you hired specifically for corporate mobility management, you can reorganize your team and responsibilities to save money.

Wireless expense management

Depending on the number of devices your company oversees, bills and invoices can be extremely time consuming to analyze. Additional fees, overages, and unused-but-active devices can inflate your bill drastically, causing you to overspend on corporate mobile. A managed service provider can simplify billing, create custom reports, and identify costs sinks to help you cut unnecessary costs.

Hands on support

By outsourcing to a managed service provider, you can get around-the-clock support from a dedicated support team or use an online portal to handle tickets more efficiently.

Device lifecycle management

Instead of letting old devices go to waste, consider outsourcing to a managed service provider that can help provision, deploy, repurpose, decommission, and recycle old devices when they’re no longer in use.

Incorporate best practices

Managed service providers specialize in enterprise mobility management, so they know the ins and outs of the industry, along with all of the best practices for corporate mobile. With the help of an experienced team, you’ll know which carriers and plans are best, how to manage your mobile fleet effectively, which software solutions are best for your organization, and more.

Keep the carrier. Lose the headache.

Let LINQ handle all your enterprise mobile management needs so you can focus on what you do best.

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