Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:05

International call costs affecting productivity: survey


It's not just you. Other companies find the cost of international roaming and overseas calls puts a crimp on productivity.

Sometimes a quick chat can settle an issue much more quickly than a lengthy series of emails. But if you're on a conventional fixed-line or mobile tariff, calling overseas especially using your mobile while you're overseas can be an expensive business.

Some telcos have plans that provide affordable rates to certain countries, and VoIP services can be a real bargain.

Notwithstanding developments such as Vodafone's 'use your plan inclusions overseas for an extra $5 a day', roaming charges can put a crimp on keeping in touch while travelling.

A new study conducted by mobile communications provider Truphone (so yes, this does fall into the category of "he would say that, wouldn't he?") found that international communications costs are an issue for organisations that do business overseas or who send staff abroad.

21.5% of Australian businesses surveyed reported problems with restricted communications between employees, clients and business partners, and fractionally fewer said they experienced issues with lack of access to internal network resources whilst abroad.

Issues include loss of efficiency and lost business opportunitieswhen customers and suppliers cannot make contact.

“The impact of restricted international communications on Australian business productivity is staggering – for both the productivity of employees, and to the business itself," said Truphone senior vice president for Asia Pacific Alex Ip.

"With one businesses reporting the loss of a $500,000 account due to restricted access to communications while travelling, it’s evident that businesses are suffering.”

Among the specific findings, 47.7% of respondents reported instances of employees unable to work through lack of connectivity while travelling abroad, 40.4% of business travellers said alternatives to mobile phones inhibit productivity and so use their phones while travelling regardless of cost, and one in five business travellers reported having restrictions placed on international mobile calls, and being dependant solely on email when travelling internationally.

300 respondents participated in the research, of which 53.3% were employed by large enterprises (200 or more staff) and 46.7% worked for small-to-medium sized businesses (40 to 199 employees, so somewhat larger than the usual definition of small businesses having less than 20 employees and that account for around 95% of all Australian businesses).

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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