Sprint Corp. is readying a set of services designed to help IT administrators make wireless phones more secure and corporate calling plans more sensible.
Sprint Managed Mobility Services will include increased support for both device management and account maintenance, said officials at the Overland Park, Kan., company. Sprint will announce the services at the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment show in San Francisco this week.
Chief among the device services is security management, officials said. Sprint has teamed up with several third-party companies to help IT managers enforce the use of power-on passwords. The services provide several layers of encryption on devices-including FIPS (Federal Information Processing Standard) 140-and offer remote locking and wiping of data from devices that are reported stolen.
"We see a lot of customers realizing they need to manage their wireless devices as if they are laptops-as windows into the corporate data environment," said Kenny Wyatt, assistant vice president of customer solutions at Sprint. "IT administrators need to protect smart-phone data the same way they do laptop data." Sprint will help IT managers determine which employees need which levels of security, Wyatt said.
While customers said management tools are always welcome, they added it may be the carriers own fault that account maintenance is so complicated in the first place.
"If they didnt change their calling plans every 2 seconds, theyd be easier to manage," said Arnold Worldwide CIO Jorge Abellas-Martin in Boston, a Sprint customer and an eWEEK Corporate Partner.
The services also include over-the-air device configuration such as software upgrades and removal, officials said.
On the account side, services include a Web-based analysis tool that lets administrators organize, report and analyze standard monthly invoice data to justify the expenditures that make sense and figure out which ones dont. Sprint officials said many customers are paying for devices that are rarely used.
"We always look at the bill and make sure all the people on the bill still work here," Abellas-Martin said.
To that end and to encourage customers to standardize on one carrier, Sprint is pushing the PCS Shared Minutes plan, in which a corporate customer can pool all minutes from corporate-purchased subscriptions and any employee in the company can draw from the pool.
Managed services subscribers are also ensured faster response times for basic requests.
Sprint is testing the new services in customer trials starting this month. If all goes well, the services will be broadly available next quarter, officials said.