Minimise your Data Roaming Bill Shock with IEM for Mobile Devices

When talking to clients about mobile device management,  almost everyone highlights examples within their organisation of bill shock from data roaming charges.   It’s discussed further on the following ABC Australia video.    Whilst people are being educated on cost implications and there are calculators like this one from Telstra,  many people are still getting caught out with huge bills.   It also appears to be a particularly bigger issue in Asia Pacific for some reason.

Companies can minimise their user and corporate bill shock, by implementing a data roaming policy using IBM Endpoint Manager for Mobile Devices.   To do this for iOS devices, an administrator simply follows the steps below:

  1. From the Endpoint Manager console,  simply select Management Commands and Disable Data Roaming – Apple iOS.  You’ll see that for my environment I have 52 of 205 applicable mobile phones that have Data Roaming enabled.
  2. Select Take Action, then select Policy (so that the Action will re-apply as required).    I could then simply select any applicable mobile devices (ie. one or more phones), however I’ve setup an Automatic Group called iOS Devices and have selected that as shown below.   Finally select OK.
  3. You’ll then see your iOS devices reporting and their status changed to Fixedas shown below:

If a user then goes back in and turns the data roaming setting back ON,  the MDM client (via the Apple MDM API’s) will change this back to OFF at the next refresh interval.  This by default is every 6 hours.   Personally,  I’d like the ability to fully disable this feature entirely (like we can by disabling the Camera) or for a period of time/data, however Apple doesn’t allow this for now.   I’ve tested this feature with iOS 5.x and 6.0.   Just today,  IBM has updated our MDM service to include the new MDM features in iOS 6

The latest release of IEM for MDM includes Data Usage information as shown below.   The last three months of 3G-data usage provided to the server, which will store a larger archive for history checking.

I also created a custom copy of this Fixlet to also display a user message when the Data Roaming was turned off.  You can download a copy here.

With this MDM policy, organisations can still minimise the chances of users returning from their overseas trip to an expensive phone bill !

If you have any queries or feedback, please post them on the developerWorks forum here.


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