Mystery Caller – November 2015

Our Mystery Caller is experiencing some pretty gross bill shock this month. His team are spending more time abroad than ever and are racking up huge bills on their mobiles. He wants them to still be productive when away but also not put a serious dent in his back pocket each month. Logging on to dodgy cafe WiFi isn’t cutting the mustard either and he is worried that these unsecure connections could leave his business vulnerable to attack. He has heard of a few solutions that enable you to still present a local number when abroad from a mobile which can cut costs but what do you do when you don’t have a WiFi connection? He needs some answers!

Charterhouse Voice and Data

After being passed around a few times and getting dowsed in classical music as I waited on hold I got through to Ricky who introduced himself as the Head of Mobile at Charterhouse. Without much hesitation Ricky told me what I would probably want is one of their Corporate SIM cards which are designed for businesses with fewer than fifty employees. If we knew the countries we were going to be travelling to then we could get a SIM card which had bundles of minutes, calls and data calling to or from those locations.

Ricky sort of hit the nail on the head in the first forty five seconds but I wanted to see what else I could get out of him. He asked me lots of questions about the current set up and took me through an example of pricing and allowances to give me an idea of what I could expect to spend. In his example he told me that for £32 he could get me a tariff with unlimited calls and texts and then specifically three hours of calls to/ from the EU/US with the hardware too. If we only wanted the SIMs then they could take the subsidy they get from the network and refund that to us to make the deal really affordable. The only issue would be that employees would have to change SIMs over when they wanted to make those calls.

Ricky asked me a lot of questions about what kind of devices we had and usage etc and quite frankly told me it would probably be easier to just furnish the staff with corporate devices as well. Due to everyone having their own device at present and not really knowing what usage was like for individuals he would recommend SIMs that have a 30 day rolling contract so after the first month or two they would know exactly which plan we needed and we wouldn’t be stuck in contract if it needed adjusting.

Ricky went on to ask what kind of phone system we had in the office, I was slightly confused at first but then I was told Charterhouse sell Avaya and Mitel systems which come with lots of cool UC features. One of those features includes being able to dial into your desk phone from anywhere in the world via a mobile to make calls. Because you are connected to the phone via the cloud the charges would be the same as if you were making a call on the landline.


Helpfulness – 5/5     Manner – 4/5     Knowledge – 5/5    Understanding – 5/5     Sales Technique – 3/5    Clarity –4/5

Total 26/30 Brilliant call! Ricky was great, which is probably why he heads the mobile division. I felt like he addressed my questions with great solutions and even went one step further by asking me about my office phone system.


District Communications

I got through to a very keen receptionist within about half a ring who was clearly on top of her game, so much in fact that she was clearly making a cup of tea in the background! That’s dedication in my opinion! She informed me that it sounded like we all needed to be under one plan but she would pass me over to the sales team for more information.

David picked up the phone and instantly told me what we should be going for is one corporate plan and get all the employees under contract on one account. They could offer me plans with built in allowances for calls, texts and data to/ from the EU/ US but really we would need to get an idea of the kind of usage before we moved the conversation on.

I tried to move the conversation onwards as I didn’t have usage numbers to throw at him but unfortunately David wasn’t having any of it. Either his bull s#!t o-meter was detecting I was wasting his time or he was done trying to convince me of further options! He said that they would be happy to come and sit down with me and the team and go through the bills to pick exactly which tariff we needed. David said until we had established that there wasn’t any point going further because he would be plucking numbers out of the air.

I asked him about other consumer style apps out there and David circumvented the questions by acknowledging that there were some VoIP options but really they wouldn’t know what was best until they had sat down with us face to face and gone through everything.


Helpfulness – 2/5     Manner – 3/5     Knowledge – 3/5     Understanding – 3/5    Sales Technique – 4/5    Clarity –3/5

Total 18/30 Middle of the road. Although this wasn’t a bad call as such it was frustrating. I just wanted David to give me that little bit of information to give me an idea of my different options. Instead I got one option and no idea of price. He did well to direct the conversation towards a face to face meeting though.


Pneuma Data Solutions

I had a look at the Pneuma website before I called and couldn’t really see a lot going on there aside from it telling me they were mobile specialists. I took the plunge and gave them a call, after a brief verbal liaison with the receptionist I was put through to Simon in sales.

I explained my situation to Simon and he hesitated and then chuckled, he said there were a lot of things we could do. Ideally, he said we should get business contracts from everyone so we get access to the business grade products. Then he took me through the options on each network.

With an EE tariff he could over me various contracts that come with inclusive EU/ US minutes and calls and then there are bolt-ons which we could add if needed. Vodafone do a flat fee of £2.50 a day in the EU and £5.00 in the US which means once you pay that you can use your normal inclusive minutes and texts in your bundle. Then there was O2 where you pay £1.66 for unlimited data in the EU and then you can make calls through their TuGo app which just comes out of your regular allowance.

I didn’t really know which of those options was best so asked if there were any hidden costs or if he had any feedback from those approaches to roaming abroad. Simon explained with Vodafone and O2 those charges only applied to outgoing calls, for inbound calls you still get charged. O2 however had a flat rate of 40p for every inbound call.

Simon favoured the O2 option but unfortunately it was for the EU only although we could get a US bolt on. I wanted to know if there were any other options out there and Simon mentioned Goodspeed which was a MiFi device which could be used abroad. Several people could connect to it but really it’s only for those heavy users who need to sit down and get some real work done.


Helpfulness – 4/5     Manner – 4/5     Knowledge – 4/5     Understanding – 4/5     Sales Technique – 3/5     Clarity –4/5

Total 23/30 Solid call. Simon really knew his stuff! He had great knowledge across all three networks about what they offered and prices too. He could have asked me more about my set up and what kind of devices we currently have. In all a really good call.


Final Scores

1st Charterhouse Voice and Data

2nd Pneuma Data Solutions

3rd District Communications


Round up

Excellent scores this month! International roaming has become more important as businesses expand globally and workers want and expect the same range of tools wherever they are. I was really impressed with both Ricky and Simon this month who gave me many options to mull over. Simon had great knowledge across the networks and knew exactly what he could offer me, he even through a MiFi device into the mix called Goodspeed which he thought may be of use. Ricky went above and beyond in my opinion and gave me some options to think about when we came to refresh our office phone system. That is what great salesmen do in my opinion, you go in for a mars bar and you walk out with a Christmas hamper. Well done!





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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine