New research has revealed companies are wasting money on a fringe benefit – and many don’t even know it.

Visage Mobile, a company that monitors the cell phone usage of its clients’ employees, recently discovered the average company spends $8,361 per year on employees’ ringtones, apps and premium text services.

Perhaps even more disturbing: Companies that offer cell phones to employees spend an average of $852,000 to provide the benefit, and 12.5% of that goes toward what Visage deems “bad spend” — which includes overages, roaming fees and non-work-related downloads.

Visage studied usage by 480,000 employees in 450 companies. It also analyzed data from cell phone carriers and companies’ Human Resources departments. On average, the companies involved in the study had 700 employees using wireless devices.

Granted, the study looked at larger firms, but even small companies should startled by these numbers. It proves there’s a good chance your employees are racking up charges for things that have nothing to do with business. And if you’re not going through their cell phone bills line by line, it could cost you big time.

Unnecessary cell phone charges

What exactly are employees downloading? Visage’s analysis found 10% of employees pay for premium SMS (short messaging service) texts for things like horoscopes and celebrity news alerts. Ringtones are also a massively popular download.

In addition, Visage said “adult-oriented” apps, like those for dating, account for one in 10 employee downloads.

One problem, reported Bloomberg, is some employees are being duped by schemes in which companies load apps onto their phones and charge them for services.

Customers involved in such schemes may not notice the charges for months, if they notice them at all. And if their company’s picking up the tab, you can bet they’re not looking hard for unauthorized charges.

So what is it employers should do? For starters, keep a closer eye on the charges employees are racking up.

And remember, companies giving employees smartphones (iPhones, Androids) are much more susceptible to racking up these kinds of unnecessary charges.


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