Mobile-Review often covers various aspects of the telecommunications industry from different angles – the work of the market as a whole, the work of mobile operators, devices, interesting moments and much more. Naturally, the audience of the site includes people who work in these areas, and the site often discusses the use of various types of communication for business purposes. Obviously, many readers are users of communication services that their employer pays for them. However, the site has not yet had a structured description of what this system is, although there are enough references.
In this article I will try to give a description of how corporate cellular communication systems are arranged from the inside, from the point of view of the organization that spends money on their maintenance. This description becomes even more relevant due to the fact that from June 1, mobile operators were banned from storing anonymized data on user numbers, including legal entities. The issue was considered by Sergey Potresov in his series of articles, I also recommend that you familiarize yourself.
Operators reading mail
In the context of the article, the meaning is that even if a service agreement is concluded between your employer and the mobile operator, the operator must in any case own the data of the end users of the numbers. The initiative, in principle, is logical, especially in light of the infamous package of 'Yarovaya laws'. Nevertheless, this will add work to both operators and customers.
Also, when describing, I will try to do without mentioning certain companies in order to avoid accusations of advertising.
So, you came to work in a new organization and started your career. In principle, even in workplaces where contact with other people is minimized, you will very quickly accumulate a certain layer of working contacts that you will need to use. However, allocating your personal phone number for these purposes is fraught with a mixture of personal and work contacts, and, as practice shows, in general it is better to avoid this and separate work and personal life. At this stage, a person, in fact, comes to the idea of getting a second SIM card and bringing all work contacts to it. But in large organizations this has long been thought about for you, and when you are hired for certain positions, you will receive a phone number along with a cozy armchair, which you will use for work purposes. In fact, the organization solves not only and not so much your problem with the separation of work and personal life, but makes it so that you are available to solve work issues. Always desirable, including when you are sleeping, on vacation, or when you die.
It should be said here that corporate communication systems are open and closed. An open system is no different from your regular number. Same operating principles, call directions and available services. The difference is that, as a rule, your number will have a certain limit on the costs of services, within which you can spend the funds of the organization. Accordingly, the higher you climb the career ladder, the more you can spend. Naturally, the invoice will be sent to the organization (legal entity), and all your expenses are controlled to one degree or another. Of the features, different operators (as a rule, it is still the 'big three') have built different systems for working with cost limits and with corporate subscribers in principle. For example, one operator sets a general spending limit for the entire personal account (regardless of the number of rooms), while another works only with a credit payment system, without the ability to pre-set a spending limit. For especially large businesses, as a rule, responsible persons are appointed from both sides (customer – operator) and the work is carried out on an appropriate scale. Smaller legal entities also usually get their own manager, but the unfortunate person works with another hundred of the same individual entrepreneurs and LLCs and cannot always help in prompt resolution of issues. The service situation is further complicated by the systems of centralizing this service for operators – a queue is formed from subscribers' requests, which is processed by a certain department / group / center.
In this case, modern operator applications come to the rescue with subscribers' access to the settlement system (analogous to a personal account for individuals), while access can also be provided to end users, within the framework of their financial capabilities and the ability to adequately assess their actions.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that contracts with big business are often concluded on terms that individuals usually never dreamed of. In pursuit of scale, operators often make serious discounts, make concessions, add services and tariffs that are not available to other subscribers. It turns out a win-win situation – the operator receives an increase in the subscriber base and a large amount of money every month, and the client spends less than he could spend on communication services. Given the presence of serious competition in the market, the client can bargain for very significant advantages (tested on his own experience). A simple example. I am sure that the audience of the site is familiar with the options that reduce the cost of using communications when traveling across Russia ('Like at home everywhere' from MTS and others like it). So, this service always works on the numbers of our company. Constantly, on all rooms. Is free. The service has not been added directly to the numbers in the billing, just the prices for communication in roaming correspond to the prices that we would have seen with this option. The savings are very significant on the scale of the organization and amount to hundreds of thousands of rubles. Do not forget that the price is not the only measure of the service provided (and this is also tested on our own experience).
In general, this description is suitable for most organizations in which it is customary to provide employees with communications, and the system looks exactly like this, even if you, as the end user, do not see it. Differences can be in nuances.
But there are more complex systems that can be called closed. The bottom line is that subscribers do not have access to public communication networks or have a limited version of it. At the same time, the operator selects a closed user group, and communication can occur within this group. An attempt to call such a number from a number that is not included in the group will cause the network to respond about the impossibility of connecting. Such a system is a way to limit inappropriate spending of the organization's funds. At the same time, it is the network of a large cellular operator that is often used, since few organizations can provide themselves with a personal large-scale cellular network (GSM or TETRA), and scenarios for using such a network are not everywhere. There is an even more advanced approach that is relevant for organizations with an extensive network of fixed office phones served by departmental PBXs. The point is that the cellular network and the fixed telephone network are mutually integrated and become an extension of each other, often using a common numbering resource. Approximately such integration is used by cellular operators themselves, providing, in fact, converged services to themselves, while still maintaining access to public networks for their employees (there is no misappropriation, or rather, in fact, spending at all). Also, as an example, we can cite, for example, PJSC 'Gazprom' – the presence of a linear (distributed in space) economy dictates the need to use such communication systems. I can assume that this is used by various special services and law enforcement agencies, but I am poorly familiar with this market segment, so I only put forward an assumption (maybe someone will tell you more?).
By the way, all of the above dictates the choice of user devices by subscribers – in the overwhelming majority of cases, these are dual-SIM devices with a corresponding scenario – a working SIM card and a personal SIM card. And in the presence of closed networks, the choice takes on bizarre forms – for example, at my work people often use three SIM cards – work, work for a closed network and personal – at the output we get three telephones for one user (although this is a rarity – usually one for two working SIM cards and the second separately for personal needs).
Also a little about expense profiles and use cases. Practice shows that the bulk of expenses in this segment are still voice communications, including high costs for roaming and long distance. For my company, widespread package tariffs are not applied, a single tariff with certain conditions is used, the necessary tariff adjustments are made using options. The options mainly concern Internet traffic packages and cost optimization in certain situations (the same roaming), everything is pretty standard here. And, accordingly, the same Internet is mainly used by more 'heavy' subscribers, with higher limits and modern smartphones.
The share of expenses for SMS is predictably low. But a significant contribution to the monthly bill is made by the massive use of SIM cards for data transmission in various equipment and for various automated control systems. Devices in general, sensors, navigation, servers, cash registers – and all this is only used more widely every year. From this I can conclude that M2M solutions from operators are becoming more and more in demand (including widely using them), and in light of the rapid development 5G and IoT, they are simply necessary. As an example of such a development, I can cite SIM-chips (a microcircuit with an embedded SIM card, integrated directly on the board of the end device), which operators also offer to use. On the topic of the Internet of Things, I also recommend reading the material of Vladimir Nimin, informatively.
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In my opinion, the description turned out to be basic, giving a general idea of the structure of corporate cellular communication systems. I ask you to write in the comments if this topic is interesting to you, dear readers, what other points in this area would be worth highlighting. Share your experience of using communication at work. Are there specific use cases that are specific to your employer?