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Gartner Says Enterprise Mobile Phones Will Replace Desktop Phones in North America by 2011

Enterprises will Need to Plan How They Manage Usage, Support and Costs During Transition to Mobility

Enterprises in North America will be supporting more mobile phones than desktop phones by 2011, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner analysts said that although most users will still also have a desktop phone, mobile phones will become more prevalent and replace desktop voice hardware to become the primary device.

“The adoption and standardization of corporate liable mobile phones in the enterprise has been driven by the use of smartphones, wireless e-mail and the integration of these phones into IP telephony systems, while improved in-building coverage and lower mobile service costs have also played a part.,” said Phil Redman, research vice president at Gartner.

Mr. Redman said that as spending on mobile communications services grows, and soon overtakes that of wired voice services, enterprises will need to plan how they manage usage, support and costs. Although mobile hardware costs are generally less than desktops, mobile services can still cost five times more than an enterprise-wired call and this could represent a huge shift in budget for enterprise communications services.

Gartner recommends a four-step plan for enterprises to ensure a smooth transition to mobility:

1. Plan -  It’s important to plan how and when the enterprise will support mobile technologies in the enterprise, decide who gets mobile voice and data and what the impact on cost structure will be. Many providers are willing to add additional wireless coverage for little or no cost, although this may mean consolidating to a primary provider to get the best deals and to ensure that everyone has the same carrier. As this transition occurs, Gartner advises using network convergence and services that transcend fixed and mobile service plans. Enterprises should also be aware that more capable mobile phones will drive the need to support other applications, which could impact other IT areas such as application development or security and their budgets.

2.
Procure — During the next few years, contract negotiation is a good time to institute new fixed and mobile plans. Enterprises should look at zoned billing, flat-rate unlimited and mobile-to-mobile to reduce the cost of cellular calling. In the U.S., Gartner is starting to see, for large enterprises, bundled, unlimited flat-rate calling for voice and data services that are up to 25 percent off list prices. Lower service-costs will be a big driver for moving traffic from fixed to mobile

3.Manage — As the transition from fixed to mobile occurs, enterprises need to have a solid policy that addresses usage, costs, standards and security. IT working with the business groups should specify exactly who gets mobile services and how much will be spent in a thorough mobile policy. Mobile device platforms should be standardized so that application development and support can be centralized and easier managed. Enterprises also need to prepare the help desk for supporting a more challenging user, which could mean employing specialized technicians.

4.Remove — Organizations should have policies and procedures to remove unnecessary desk phones to reduce hardware and operating costs. This will ensure that the user has a one-number service, a softphone and a single voice mail, so that he or she can efficiently work without a desk phone. Gartner suggests making an annual count so that licensing fees can be rectified to reduce costs and surplus desk phones used for incoming nonmobile users.

Mr. Redman will provide additional analysis on the future of the wireless industry at the Gartner Wireless & Mobile Summit taking place February 23-25 in Chicago. This Summit offers new concepts and best practices to increase return on investment on wireless investment, insights on the future of wireless, and unbiased perspectives on devices, systems, integration and the latest trends. Gartner analysts and solution providers will help unravel the tangle of multiple generations of wireless technologies, evaluate new approaches to teleworking, assess the role of core technologies such as MIDs, RFID, and IP telephony and make sense of the looming platform battles for smartphones, and more. Additional information is available at www.gartner.com/us/wireless. Members of the media can register to attend the Summit by contacting Christy.pettey@gartner.com.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report “Enterprise Mobile Phones Will Replace Desktop Phones in North America.” The report is available on Gartner’s Web site at http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?ref=g_search&id=823612&subref=simplesearch.

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