Europe missing BYOD gravy train

nexus4-ceEurope appears to be behind the curve when it comes to BYOD. The “bring your own device and ruin your techie’s day” trend is taking off in North America and Asia Pacific, where BYOD volume exceeds 80 percent of all business smartphones purchased for business users.

In Europe the figure is less than half of business smartphone sales, according to Strategy Analytics.

Sarcastic punters could say that the poor showing has something to do with the fact that many Europeans can only bring their own device to the employment office, but that’s just part of the problem. The BYOD trend is facing a lot of opposition in Europe from all fronts.

Operators dislike it because they believe it siphons revenue away from stable corporate contracts and messes with their separate billing systems for commercial and civilian users. Enterprises have their own concerns. They are protecting their operator support commitments that are available only through corporate contracts. Many end-users aren’t willing to embrace restrictions they would have to follow due to roaming and other problems.

In spite of European Commission caps, roaming is still a big deal in Europe and it obstructs BYOD growth. Carriers aren’t willing to do much about it and split billing options to better meet the needs of businesses and end-users. Direct billing options that allow operators to bill individual workers directly for their corporate plan seem like the obvious solution, but they are very hard to implement across Europe.

“The time for European operators to fear BYOD needs to be over,” says Kevin Burden, Director of Mobility at Strategy Analytics. “Accepting the change will lead to additional revenue opportunities and will help to distinguish themselves to the corporate customer in a time when the EU continues to put regulations and policies in place that further homogenise their services. It will be a huge competitive win for the first operator that gets it right in a time when every European operator is scrambling to protect its markets and understand how to best support the trend.”

As usual, it all comes down to EU lawmakers and their counterparts in member states, which basically means that this problem won’t be tackled anytime soon.