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Understanding mobile contracts for businesses | Insights from the team

Mobile connectivity is vital for businesses today, helping them stay productive and connected. But with so many options, finding the right mobile plan can be confusing. That's why understanding the basics is essential. From device plans to SIM-only contracts and hardware funds, each offers something different. In this guide, we speak with our Managing Director and Senior Account Manager, breaking down these essential plan setups, making it easier for businesses to choose what works best for them.

Essential Mobile Plan Setups

Devices Plan

These monthly contracts offer businesses the convenience of fixed monthly payments, typically over 24 months. These contracts include handsets, with the choice to choose how much you want to pay upfront, and various add-ons such as collaboration tools (e.g., Microsoft 365 license) and extra data. Dan Cargill, our Managing Director, elaborates further, “Opting for this approach often incurs higher expenses due to the interest and finance charges on the plan. However, businesses will see increased affordability when it to comes to avoiding upfront costs for their handsets as they don’t always have to pay them outright”.

When a business sets up a device plan that covers a large fleet of handsets, they can benefit from multiple advantages. Titus Chang, our Senior Account Manager, dives into three crucial elements; “They will get access to an online billing and self-service portal where they can view their monthly invoices and reports. They can run detailed monthly analysis on data or roaming usages at both individual and account levels. And lastly, you've got a dedicated business support team to deal with specific business customers only.

Dan states that a business can be more flexible in terms of the tariffs that each employee has access to. “So, rather than it being the same tariff for all employees, you could have one user on a lower data plan, one on a higher one, and one with additional roaming benefits or international call benefits because others might not [need them]. So, you can amend the package per user rather than it being a blanket cost.”

SIM-Only Plan

SIM-only plans provide flexibility and affordability by offering data, calls, and text-based packages without handsets, with just the SIM being provided. Businesses can use their existing devices, enjoy versatile plans, and even opt for data-only packages suitable for devices like tablets.

So typically, with the SIM-only deal, they tend to save a lot more in the long term than they would do on a device plan.

Titus Chang, Senior Account Manager

Titus highlights one important part about SIM-only contracts, “So typically, with the SIM-only deal, they tend to save a lot more in the long term than they would do on a device plan. There is no hardware cost (which often includes interest) being absorbed into the monthly line rental costs.”

Asked on what is likely the best scenario for a business to use SIM-only deal, Dan, and Titus both share their insights. Dan states, “I think SIM-only probably is always the best scenario, purely because of the costs and you're always going to get best value for money. It just comes down purely to what the business requirement is in relation to hardware and how many devices they need and how affordable it is for them to pay upfront or not, and then you move from there. SIM-only is normally the start position and then the hardware discussion comes after that and decides whether we're looking at device plan, SIM-only or hardware fund.”

Titus also agrees that the business requirement is important stating that, “If a customer came to us and said we have a prominent BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) scheme where employees can use their own handsets, then the SIM-only option will be probably the best choice that we will recommend. So, it does vary depending on the client’s requirements. But in addition to the benefits, if the client adopts the SIM-only plan now and then they say, ‘we do now need some new handsets’, some networks will allow these SIM-only accounts to upgrade onto a device plan ‘in-life’. This means the client gets their new devices provided they agree to a new 24-month contract. So, there's that flexibility that some networks offer.”

Hardware Fund Plan

A hardware fund allows businesses to allocate a budget for device procurement over the contract term. This provides flexibility in device selection and timing of upgrades, potentially saving costs overall.

Our Managing Director explains in full detail, “A hardware fund is a source of money that's made available to the customer at the start of the contract term. Normally we would have a set value with the customer before we go to the network to try and negotiate that fund and it will be down to again what their requirements are in relation to what they expect, hardware-wise, over the upcoming two-year term. The benefit of a hardware fund is flexibility. So rather than having a whole host of individual device plans where everybody's handed a device at the start of the contract, the client can select when they upgrade or issue new devices to their employees.

So, for example, a business may have 100 users, but they have a hardware fund which covers the cost of 50 iPhones because they have forecasted only half the users will need a new device in the next 24 months. By doing so, they're saving costs in relation to having device plans for everyone, but also not having that concern over how they are going to pay for new devices during the agreement term. The fund’s already there and it's made available for them from the start. We also give our customers the flexibility to roll over any unused funds into the next contract or to draw it down as a cash-back [if they don’t use the allotted funds within their contract term]. So, it's more beneficial to a business to use [Revolve Communications] for a hardware fund model than the networks directly (who stipulates that hardware funds must be used by the end of agreement).”

So, should every business have a hardware fund?

Titus: “Once again, this is purely down to the business and their needs. Some businesses, especially those that don't have a business account and are brand new, they'll probably need handsets and SIMs from day one. For those that already have existing handsets, they'll probably go for the hardware fund because they’ll prefer to purchase devices when their current handsets stop working, at a later date.”

Dan: “Yeah, agreed. It wouldn't benefit every business to have a hardware fund. We wouldn't recommend it unless they need it. Typically, we would start by looking at assembling the tariff options for each customer. Once we get to the point of discussing hardware and device requirements, we will look at changing the monthly price point to accommodate the new hardware requirements.”

Understanding Key Elements in Mobile Plans

IDD (International Direct Dialing)

International Direct Dialing (IDD) is a telecommunications term that refers to the ability for individuals to make calls directly to another country from the UK. When making an international call, the caller must use the recipient’s country dialing code (starting "00" or "+") before entering the destination phone number. This code signals to the telephone network that the call is intended for an international destination.

International calls incur additional charges, and Titus advises that "international direct calls are not included in their standard UK allowances... the cost will vary between networks, and it depends on what price plan you've got.” Dan also reiterates his point by saying that “if you've got users who needs to make IDD calls, this needs to be enabled on their lines first and it is advisable that the users are educated to the cost of their IDD calls.”

Both Dan & Titus recommend the use of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) apps like WhatsApp or Microsoft Teams which can be beneficial for calling internationally, without the need for IDD calls. These calls are made over the internet, so will save on IDD call charges.

Roaming Costs

Roaming charges refer to the additional fees you pay to use your phone overseas including making phone calls, sending texts, and using mobile data.

While many would associate roaming costs with outgoing calls and text, as well as data usage, there’s a few more that’s included with roaming; Titus explains, “A lot of people don't realize you also pay for incoming calls as well. And you’ll get, ‘Oh why is my call so expensive? Why am I getting charged twice?’, well it's because the network is diverting calls from the UK to wherever you are in the world. You must pay for that. Similarly, voicemail calls are chargeable as well. If somebody calls you and you're in Mauritius, for example, you must pay to divert that call back to your voicemail box in UK (should you be unavailable). So, there are those costs which people don't understand or don't realize.”

Dan adds that businesses should take into consideration of educating their end users on what’s allowed and included in their tariff stating, “it’s best to always request open dialogue [with their mobile supplier] in relation to travelling abroad and make sure that the destination they're travelling to is covered and if not, find out what are the potential risks and costs involved.”

Out of Bundle Spend

"Out of bundle" spend refers to the charges incurred by a mobile phone user for services that are not covered by their price plan allowances. These charges typically occur when a user exceeds the allocated limits not included in their standard plan.

I feel like this is where we really support businesses and our customers because this is all about the analysis we provide and obviously behaviors can change, but typically by proper analysis and reporting, we can see where their extra spend is coming from and then mitigate that.

Dan Cargill, Managing Director

For businesses, reducing OOB spend is crucial for staying within budget, and that’s why companies like Revolve Communications exist. Dan asserts, “I feel like this is where we really support businesses and our customers because this is all about the analysis we provide and obviously behaviors can change, but typically by proper analysis and reporting, we can see where their extra spend is coming from and then mitigate that.”

Titus also agrees and adds that there needs to be a level of accountability in bill spend for businesses, arguing that “businesses need to check their bills every month to make sure there's nothing ‘out of the ordinary’ and to highlight any billing issues so that they can be investigated and resolved in a timely manner”.

So, what does your business need to know?

Understand your usage.

Understanding your usage patterns is crucial in selecting the right plan. Consider factors such as international calling needs, roaming requirements, and out-of-bundle spend. By analyzing usage data and behaviors, businesses can optimize their plans to minimize costs and maximize reward.

Find the right plan for you.

When considering mobile plans for your business, it's essential to evaluate your needs and goals. Different plan setups cater to varying requirements, whether you prioritize device procurement, flexibility, or cost-effectiveness. Understanding the nuances of device plans, SIM-only plans, and hardware fund plans is crucial in making an informed decision.

Stay flexible.

Flexibility is key in mobile plan setups. Whether it's adjusting tariffs per user, upgrading devices mid-contract, or implementing spend caps, businesses should prioritize plans that offer adaptability to changing needs. Staying flexible ensures that your mobile plan is still aligned with your evolving business requirements.

Know the implications of being international.

For businesses with international operations or travel requirements, it's essential to consider international implications such as IDD calling and roaming costs. Opting for plans that include international features or using alternative communication methods like VoIP apps can help mitigate more expenses.

Be in the right hands, with the right customer service.

Finally, prioritize mobile providers like Revolve Communications that offer excellent customer service and support. Whether it's addressing concerns about billing, investigating unusual spend patterns, or providing guidance on plan optimization, reliable customer service ensures a seamless mobile experience for your business.


Choosing the right mobile plan is crucial for businesses to stay efficient and effective. By understanding the basics of device plans, SIM-only contracts, and hardware funds, companies can tailor their mobile solutions to fit their needs. Keeping track of usage, international considerations, and a supplier that revolves around your needs ensures you get the most out of your mobile plans. As technology changes, staying flexible and informed will help businesses stay ahead in today's digital world.

Revolve Communications is an independent mobile network partner that revolves around your business needs. Gain secure, scalable, and intelligent mobile communications services that enhance your goals.

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