Driver Smartphones: Business Cell Phone Programs to Consider

When it comes to arming drivers with smartphones, there are many ownership and enablement options to consider. It is important to think through what your team can support (tech issues, processing reimbursements, etc.) and what your drivers need while on the road (up-to-date devices, data plans to support tools like GPS tracking, reliable security, etc.).

driver smartphone

The bottom line, however, is that drivers need dependable smartphones while on the move so they can communicate with the home office, access crucial fleet data and allow for proper location and behavior tracking—all in the name of fleet productivity and safety.

Explore the pros and cons of the following business mobility programs to see which works best for your fleet management team and drivers:

BYOD

Since nearly 90 percent of professional drivers already have a personal mobile device, many companies are considering a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program in which drivers purchase their own device and cell phone plan and use it for business activities.

A long-time conversation in business mobility, effective BYOD programs have been said to save employees 81 minutes per week and companies $1,300 per year. While about 75% of enterprise mobility programs use BYOD, many still don’t feel comfortable implementing because of security concerns and the headache of reimbursement and stipend programs, device updates and tech support concerns.

Pros:

  • Flexibility for drivers
  • No corporate cell phone plans to manage
  • Cost savings (no upfront technology costs)

Cons:

  • No direct control over security
  • Must ensure employees have modern phones and keep them updated
  • May have to provide training or tech support to drivers
  • Accounting tasks created by reimbursements and/or stipend programs

COPE

A great (and some say more secure) alternative to BYOD, COPE (corporate owned, personally enabled) cell phone programs give the employer control over the device, service provider and plan but keep drivers happy as well. After companies purchase and distribute smartphones, drivers are able to use them for both business and personal use.

A variation of COPE is CYOD (Choose Your Own Device) in which drivers choose from a number of different company-mandated devices. This option allows the employer to maintain control but also gives drivers a choice.

Pros:

  • Flexibility for drivers
  • Bulk discounts through mobile provider
  • Control of security given to employer
  • Ensure devices are equipped to handle driver tasks
  • Streamlined tech support through mobile provider

Cons:

  • Difficult to control data caps and costs
  • Accounting tasks created by reimbursements and/or stipend programs
  • May still endure training and tech support

COCE

COCE (company owned, company enabled) cell phone programs offer full control to the employer and no control to the driver. While employer control is important when it comes to security, COCE programs may cause dissatisfaction among drivers. In some cases, this may result in drivers carrying both a personal device and business device while on the road.

Pros:

  • Bulk discounts through mobile provider
  • Control of security given to employer
  • Ensure devices are equipped to handle driver tasks
  • Streamlined tech support through mobile provider

Cons:

  • No flexibility for drivers, potential for dissatisfaction
  • Must set strict policy for what can/cannot be done on business smartphone
  • Difficult to control data caps and costs
  • Possibility of drivers still using personal phones for business

Direct-to-carrier stipends

Direct-to-carrier stipend programs are a fresh alternative to BYOD. Often seen as a cost-effective option, employees are responsible for purchasing a device and securing a mobile provider and plan. Employers then give employees a monthly credit based on their role in the company, paying a portion of their monthly bill.

In this type of program, companies are able to separate personal and corporate usage, so they can often avoid certain taxes and regulatory fees BYOD programs cannot.

Pros:

  • Flexibility for drivers
  • No corporate cell phone plans to manage
  • Potential to avoid certain taxes and regulatory fees

Cons:

  • No direct control over security
  • Must ensure employees have modern phones and keep them updated
  • May have to provide training or tech support to drivers
  • Accounting tasks to process stipends

Truth be told, there’s no one-size-fits-all driver smartphone program. When weighing the pros and cons, be sure to aim for a mutually beneficial solution for both management and drivers.

To learn more about driver smartphone ownership options like BYOD and COPE, reimbursements and stipends, data plans, security policies and much more, download our free Driver Cell Phone Plans and Policies White Paper, and to begin tracking driver location and behavior via smartphone, check out Fleetio Drive.


Lori Sullivan

Marketing Director

Lori is the Director of Marketing at Fleetio and a seasoned B2B marketing and automotive advertising expert. When she's not nerding out on marketing metrics or podcasts, she is binge-watching Netflix crime dramas with her dog, Fitzgerald.

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