FreeMove Alliance enables companies to simplify complicated processes such as negotiating contracts, procurement and reporting.
FreeMove Alliance

Putting an end to chaos.

In the globalized economy, companies work with many mobile network providers. The consequence is that IT departments juggle with a wide variety of contracts, rates and billing formats. An alliance between Telekom and three other network operators shows how CIOs still manage to retain an overview of the costs.
Author: Yvonne Nestler
Photo: Deutsche Telekom AG
Executive travelling on business, sales staff and networked products – mobile communication in companies is steadily growing. According to IDC market researchers, more than one third of all jobs around the world in 2015 were mobile. These employees need secure devices, a fast mobile phone connection everywhere they go and new mobile data volume as and when required. It is the job of IT departments to meet all these requirements – at as low a cost as possible.
However, this represents a major challenge, especially for multinational companies. Because they have to enable staff in numerous different companies to work on the move. And every country and every location is different. Here employees order new mobile phones from an online catalogue, there they fill in paper forms. Here the company works with one mobile phone provider, there with a different one. “So for every country in which they operate, multinational companies have to negotiate a different contract, offer staff different services, respect different processes and process different bills”, explains Stefan Gubi, member of the FreeMove Management Board and Senior Vice President Multinational Customers (MNC) in the board area Europe & Technology of Deutsche Telekom AG. “That takes time and makes it hard to retain an overview of all the different kinds of network access around the world, how to use them and how much they cost.”
The disadvantages, for example, reveal themselves when it comes to roaming charges. If a German employee travels to Italy for a day, they can call their office in their home country for 75 cents a minute. A Russian businessman, on the other hand, will pay 83 cents a minute in accordance with his local rate. Any large enterprise wanting to plan its roaming costs for the coming year, stands little chance in this confusion. And the costs can quickly run to millions with staff numbers in the tens of thousands.

One-stop mobile communications

Patrick Molck-Ude
"In the future, we would like to significantly expand our partner network and offer our services in even more countries."
Patrick Molck-Ude, Director of T-Systems' Telecommunications Division
One way out of this dilemma is now offered by the European FreeMove Alliance: Deutsche Telekom, TeliaSonera, Orange and Telecom Italia. “As one of the largest mobile communications alliances in the world, we can offer our international customers mobile communication solutions in more than 100 countries, and we can do so with just one central contact person who coordinates all the requirements for our customers”, says Patrick Molck-Ude, member of the Supervisory Board of the FreeMove Alliance and Director of the TC Division at T-Systems. “In this way, mobile communication services can be efficiently managed across different countries – in the best network and without any long lists of contacts.” To achieve this, the FreeMove Alliance works with the most important partners around the world, such as MegaFon in Russia and the Bridge Alliance in the Asian Pacific area. The benefit is that complicated processes such as negotiating contracts, procurement and reporting can be centralized and simplified. For example, with one reporting system for all mobile communication activities worldwide. Or transparent roaming charges, graded in three rate zones. Thanks to the alliance, companies can procure these services from a single source, easily and at a much lower cost.
“In spite of all the uniformity, companies can design the underlying conditions to suit themselves”, explains Stefan Gubi. For example, when it comes to the contract: one company would like to have one central document for all locations, while another would prefer only local contracts to fit a standard template. For that reason, the four network operators have agreed general terms and conditions of business across all countries thanks to which either contractual model can be quickly implemented. Companies can also decide whether they would like a pure FreeMove contract or rather a contract with one of the four network operators. The latter could be advantageous, for example, if a customer would also like to purchase a mobile device management solution from T-Systems.

The same offer around the world

Individually tailored but globally the same – that is the intention behind FreeMove’s rate structure. Specifically, that means companies will soon be able to offer their employees around the world LTE data packages with three gigabytes – even if there is no such package in some countries. Or they will provide a common LTE data volume for all employees in Spain and Portugal. Everybody can use as much of it as they need. “Then the IT Department won’t have to book a new data package individually for each employee any more, when they have used theirs up”, says Gubi. The clever thing about it is that locally incurred costs will be fully automatically reflected in individual company rates. This will be taken care of by an overarching billing platform connected to the systems of the network operators. Development of the platform will start in 2016.
Uniformity is also the key feature of FreeMove’s network quality: there have been common network KPIs since 2015. Companies can use a web portal to view the performance of the mobile networks used. The Alliance is already managing 2.4 m SIM cards across 100 countries for the IT departments of multinational companies and their frequently travelling staff. “We help our customers to mobilize their processes worldwide and in this way to grow their businesses”, says Patrick Molck-Ude. “In the future, we would like to significantly expand our partner network and offer our services in even more countries.”

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