The Wireless Miser's Blog

Everybody into the pool!

The “pooling” of user minutes is an important best practice for driving down your monthly cell phone costs while ensuring that everyone gets all the talk-time they need.

But most companies don’t do it right. So they wind up either wasting their money on overage charges—or buying more minutes than they need.

Here are three important tips for doing pooling right:

1. Put everybody into the pool—except for your top users. If you’ve really got a good handle on your collective usage, pooled minutes that everyone can use will get you your best deal. The extra $5 you spend to make each user’s minutes available to everyone else will be more than made up for by the savings that result from more efficient allocation of the total minutes you buy.

2. Get algorithmic. When you don’t pool your minutes, you have to try to buy the right plan for each individual user. When you pool, on the other hand, you have to figure out the least expensive combination of plans to achieve your target for collective minutes. So you’ll need the right kind of algorithm to optimize the combination of plans you purchase. The cost differential between the optimal combination and a less optimal one is not trivial.

3. Chargeback on usage, not individual plan. Once you start pooling properly, each individual’s phone plan will be somewhat arbitrary—and therefore no longer reflect the real cost of the minutes he or she is actually using. So you’ll have to adjust your chargeback process and policies accordingly. You may want to base each user’s cost on the actual minutes they use. You may also want to set minimum costs and ceiling costs. I’ll talk more about chargebacks for pooled minutes in a future post.

The right pooling strategy can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month. So the sooner you calculate the best way to buy your minutes, the sooner you can start compounding those savings.

If you have questions about how to best pool your company’s wireless minutes, write to me Why keep spending more on wireless than you have to?