back to article Buy Your Own Device: No more shiny-shiny work mobe for you

A new service piggybacks a company number on the back of the employee's personal number to save money for both and make Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) easier. Youtube Video The idea of people wanting to use their own mobile but have work pay for calls opens a can of worms. The spectre of BYOD brings with it the issue of who …

  1. Neil Charles

    Not so sure about this one

    Work phones are partly for making calls but more importantly for sending and receiving email. At my office, when you connect your mobile phone to exchange (or Office 365 or whatever the service is called now), it demands remote admin rights over your phone for the owner of the exchange server. They can remotely factory reset it if they like.

    That's fine for a work device and you can choose to do it on your own tablet or phone too if you want. But your employer demanding admin rights over your personal phone as the only option for work calls? Not for me.

    1. Anonymuis

      Re: Not so sure about this one

      There are mobile apps which help to work around this whole issue and also help to isolate business from private.

      Have a look at "Touchdown" if you're using Android.

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: Not so sure about this one

        "Have a look at "Touchdown" if you're using Android."

        I regularly have a look at it, as it is installed on my works phone, and from my perspective its a pile of rank, steaming shit.

        Any employer who thinks they're installing that sort of crap on my personal device is badly mistaken. If a business mobile is a necessity, they provide it. I'm not spending my hard earned to save them a handful of shekels.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Not so sure about this one

      Hmm, I've still got a Nokia 3110 in the cupboard, that will be fine for making business calls.

      1. Obitim

        Re: Not so sure about this one

        Doubles up as a self protection device too...double your value!

    3. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Not so sure about this one

      it demands remote admin rights over your phone for the owner of the exchange server. They can remotely factory reset it if they like.

      We have the same thing where I work. It applies to laptops using the corporate wifi too.

      When we just lost our blackberries to cost cutting, the company has lost contact with me out of office hours. No chance I'm having my laptop wiped out because some helldesk offshorian clicked the wrong machine name, so now they've lost any train based productivity they once had during my epic commute.

      So much more relaxing I wish I'd done it years ago.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not so sure about this one

      Yes, Work recently demanded that we all give them the rights to remotely factory-reset any phone that was talking to the Work email servers, and indeed the standard Android email app demanded that it be given this right.

      There're plenty of sensible, better written apps out there, though, so out with the old and in with the new and the hell with any twerp who wants remote-admin rights on my device!

    5. JamesJFoley

      Re: Not so sure about this one


      There's a category of software, Enterprise Mobility Management (or Mobile Device Management) that allows a company to have access rights over a *part* of your device. Companies such as Good Technology provide a 'Container' capability for a personal device so that Apps sitting within the container can be managed by the company but Apps outside the container remain private.

      As a well-behaved application, smartnumbers mobile will work within a company's MDM framework.

    6. DougS Silver badge

      Mail+ for Outlook

      I use this on iOS; it uses OWA so it doesn't require the MDM hooks. It does push notifications for emails/appointments, and pretty much does everything I could ever want. Maybe power users would find it wanting, but if they would I guess I'm not even enough of a power user to know what's missing!

  2. Longrod_von_Hugendong

    Buy my own device for work...

    They can fcuk themselves, you want me mobile you pay for it, otherwise live with no contact. What tard does this?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Buy my own device for work...

      Exactly my sentiments

      The bean counters have been at work again and all our company mobiles are now going to cost US money every month. This is due to some people racking up huge bnills while abroad and using their work phone for personal calls.

      I've sent mine back.

      now I don't get email on the move.

      the thing is, I actually prefer not having email access without my laptop. If people need to get hold of me they can text or (shudder) phone me.

      1. Tim 11

        Re: Buy my own device for work...

        it's Horses for courses. A lot of people don't want to carry two devices around all the time.

      2. keithpeter

        Re: Buy my own device for work...

        "If people need to get hold of me they can text or (shudder) phone me."

        On what if you have given the work phone back?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buy my own device for work...

      I do, I even suggested it. I usually share your sentiment with regard to the employer providing all equipment to do my job but I've got a dual sim phone and it's a lot easier to only have to carry and charge one phone than two. In the end it costs me nothing and is more convenient. Also when I run out of money on my prepaid card the work sim is a handy backup.

    3. JamesJFoley

      Re: Buy my own device for work...


      While I can appreciate your sentiments, we had the employees in mind when we designed the App.

      For example, staff don't really want to carry, manage and charge two separate phones. With this, their life becomes a little bit easier and we see most companies actually subsidize the employees for using their own phone. In that way, staff can make money from the fact they will be using their personal phone for business.

      Furthermore, by providing a 'business number' alongside your personal number then the business number can be more 'business-like'. With that comes call delegation (sending calls to your team if you're busy or unavailable), call recording, team service and the like.

  3. Snorlax Silver badge

    Bugger That

    What kind of numpty uses their personal phone for company business?

    Bosses, if you want your employees to be contactable outside the office then supply them with a phone.

    I miss pagers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bugger That

      ==> What kind of numpty uses their personal phone for company business?

      That would be the numpties who insist on having the latest shiny devices (*cough* iOS *cough*) even though it's not on the list of their company's procured phones.

      1. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: Bugger That

        By all means use one's personal car/laptop/phone for the company's benefit.

        Less of their money tied up in depreciating assets I suppose...

    2. TWB

      Re: Bugger That

      'What kind of numpty uses their personal phone for company business?' - this kind of numpty! - however having said that I hardly use the mobile for work - I mostly use it to send 'I am late texts' or make 'Where are you?' calls. I got a dual SIM phone recently and use the work SIM for calls/texts and my own one for roaming data - I wanted more of a mobile tablet for personal use than anything - but I see your original point.

    3. JamesJFoley

      Re: Bugger That


      While I've got some sympathy for your sentiments, at the same time you're implying that you need one phone for personal use and another phone for business.

      It's like arguing the need for two lap-tops so that you can see your work mail and your personal gmail. Of course, you should be able to, as you do, access both email accounts from the same laptop.

      And so it should be with smartphones. Just because by default you get one mobile number with each smartphone, doesn't mean you should buy two mobile phones just to get two numbers. Doesn't it make sense to have two full GSM mobile numbers on one smartphone ?

      I'll take your advice on pagers though and see if there's a market for putting smartnumbers on a pager :-)

      Best wishes


      1. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: Bugger That

        What happens when I leave the company? How do I get my personal number back if my boss decides to be a dick?

        1. JamesJFoley

          Re: Bugger That


          With smartnumbers mobile your personal number remains yours - permanently and forever. You never give it to the company. Instead, the company give you a corporate mobile number and when you leave your boss will simply reallocate the corporate mobile number to your replacement and you walk out of the company with your personal mobile number intact.

  4. James 51 Silver badge

    hmm use my personal phone for business because they're too cheap to provide me with one? In that case I have a lovely nokia 100. Email? umm sure, I've heard of it.

  5. Khaptain Silver badge

    The importance of seperate

    When you have two seperate phones, you can always switch one of them off. Guess which one gets switched of during the weekend.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The importance of seperate

      You can also do that with a dual sim phone. Just turn off the work sim.

    2. JamesJFoley

      Re: The importance of seperate

      Completely agree that we need to separate business and personal communications.

      With smartnumbers mobile we've added automatic timetable routing, so that you can set the phone to never ring your business line after 5pm. Personal calls will come through as and when you need to, but business calls are at your control.

      By the way, we have also provided 'call announcement' so that when you answer a call the service will whisper to you that it's a business call. That way, you can choose to answer the call if you want.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    Work phone for work

    When I'm not at work the work phone is OFF.

    No work supplied phone, no contact.

    Easy and totally free!

  7. Gwaptiva

    I don't even own a phone to bring into work. *Luddite icon please*

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      "I don't even own a phone to bring into work."

      You needn't miss out on 99% of the fun and utility of a mobile phone: Buy a Mars bar, and when on the train periodically get it out, hold it to your ear and shout "I'm on the train, I'll call you back".

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        What utterly useless advice. Four fingers of kit kat are much more similar in shape and size to a modern mobile phone. Unfortunately kit kat wrappers no longer have the foil inner so we lose out on the shiny shiny relevance but at least the shape is near right. Sheesh. ;)

        The other fun simulation is to look stupidly confused when the signal disappears, strangely around the same time the train goes through a tunnel.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          "What utterly useless advice. Four fingers of kit kat are much more similar in shape and size to a modern mobile phone"

          But those who refuse to carry a mobile in the first place will be far more at home with a Nokia-style candy bar format than an iPhone-esque Kit Kat.

          1. BlartVersenwaldIII

            Pretty sure Kit Kat is an android-only thing and not apple ones. Nokia phones are probably best represented by a no-nonsense Yorkie bar.

            Mine's a curly wurly with a side order of chocolate limes.

  8. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Quids pro me

    > it costs companies over £30 a month to maintain an employee’s phone

    So could one reasonably expect (say) £25 a month for relieving the company of this expensive burden and using my own phone?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Company wants me to have a work mobile phone... sure... company wants me to be reachable outside of working hours... let's talk about extra pay/benefits... what's that? no need for either... gj then... carry on...

  10. Paw Bokenfohr

    I didn't see "Promotional Story" or anything...

    ...but this whole article read like an advert.

    1. Snorlax Silver badge

      Re: I didn't see "Promotional Story" or anything...

      It's called 'branded content'.

      Journalistic integrity is for chumps.

  11. Anna Logg

    "...but this whole article read like an advert."

    Indeed, I would expect an article to have some mention of alternative products / solutions at least: this just reads like a PR release from the company in question.

  12. Quentin North

    Actually nothing very exciting here

    This just looks like a SIP based cloud PBX service charged on a per user basis. Lync, or any number of PBX suppliers like Aastra or Unify, will do this for you and a whole lot more.

    I wish the MNOs would bring back the old dual number services that Orange used to have a few years ago. I get a iPhone from my work, who pay for calls and data, but I don't want to give up having a separate personal number so I still have an old Nokia for that. I know I could go dual SIM on an 'droid phone, but Im a fanbois who doesn't want to pay Apple or Samsung prices.

    1. JamesJFoley

      Re: Actually nothing very exciting here

      Hi Quentin,

      One of the unique things about this service is that it's not a SIP-based service at all. It's a full GSM service, enabling two GSM mobile numbers to be managed from the same device. The term that Gartner use for this is 'virtual SIM'.

      As you appreciate, VoIP clients for smartphones suffer from a number of problems;

      - They require a good broadband connection which is often difficult to achieve in the office, let alone when walking down the street, in the car, on a train etc.

      - They don't handover from wifi cells. That's why, if you're on a VoIP call and you walk past your local Starbucks, it tries to log you into their hotspot and you lose your call.

      - If you're on a VoIP call and a GSM call comes in, it will drop your IP call.

      - You have to have a 'client' running and available on your smartphone. No client running then no calls.

      While these shortcomings will be addressed by VoLTE in the next 3 - 5 years, today a GSM number is the only credible mobile number that's fit for purpose. That's what we deliver with smartnumbers mobile.

      James Foley

      1. Snorlax Silver badge

        Re: Actually nothing very exciting here

        James, how is the administration of these numbers controlled?

        Am I right in saying my personal number is ported over to this virtual sim at my employer's request.

        If I leave the company, what procedure is in place to disassociate my personal number from my ex-employer?


        1. JamesJFoley

          Re: Actually nothing very exciting here

          Hi Snorlax,

          We think the administration of this is very simple. Firstly, you keep your personal number at all times.

          That's the number that your friends and family call you on. It's never ported over to the company, and when you leave the company it leave with you.

          At the same time, the company gives you a second 'corporate mobile number'. This may be a brand new '07xx' number or if they already have a bank of corporate mobiles from an existing operator we can port this company's existing mobile range into smartnumbers.

          In this way, when you leave the company;

          - You walk away with your personal mobile number intact and unsullied by corporate use

          - The company retains the corporate mobile number and reallocates it to the new person doing your job

          Does that make sense ?

          Please let me know if you've got any more questions.

          James Foley

  13. MJI Silver badge

    My mobile phone

    Is my work phone, allowed to make personal calls provided we do not take the piss.

    Now the people who make the most personal calls use the phone the least they do not exceed contract.

    Yes I make 4 or 5 personal calls a week. But as I am not sales noot many work calls.

    HOWEVER. I do get called, can be anytime except at night.

    1. Grantwhite

      Re: My mobile phone

      How does your company manage tax? I thought there were tax implications for using a work phone for personal use.

      1. JamesJFoley

        Re: My mobile phone


        Good point. While some companies provide a company mobile phone and provide some limited personal calling from this phone, the issue is that the HMRC really don't like this. It's considered a benefit in kind, and therefore taxable.

        I know of some companies who insist that all personal calls are identified each month so that they can be charged to their individual payroll and tax deducted at source. The expense processing for this alone can cost in the region of £20 per expense claim....

        It just makes much more sense to ensure that business calls are charged directly to the company while personal calls are charged personally. smartnumbers mobile makes this happen by default.

        Please let me know if you have any further questions.


        James Foley


  14. Tony Mudd

    Take your number when you leave.

    Having a personal number is good when you come to leave your current employer.....

    A colleague recently left, but couldn't take mobile number with him - I'm not sure of the full details, but something about the network charging GBP150 to allow this - it's not like the number was in the middle of a block of numbers matching our DDI or something.

    Should I pre-empt this problem now ? - (I'm not planning on leaving soon, but it's possible sometime in the next 20 years), or get myself a personal phone (again) and stop carrying the work one everywhere..... If I leave this discussion until working notice, then the company has no incentive...

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Take your number when you leave.

      " I'm not sure of the full details, but something about the network charging GBP150 to allow this - it's not like the number was in the middle of a block of numbers matching our DDI or something."

      It's typically a small print stitch up by the telco's SLA team and the company's dim procurement team. In return for (supposedly, hahahahaha!) favourable rates on all the business critical stuff the company's IT and procurement guys can remember to list, everything else falls into a very expensive bucket labelled "non standard requests" (NSR), for which the telco (or ITO if its a bundled deal) can shaft the company for whatever it dares ask.

      In my company's case the thieves at T-Mobile demand the fat end of £600 for each and every NSR, plus all additional direct costs of the request. That £600 applies to NSR like porting a single mobile number from the company contract via a PAC code (which for a retail customer they'd have to do for free). This NSR is in addition to a deemed two year minimum use period for all company phones, so if the employee leaves after a year the company has to pay around £180 for early "termination".

      Arguably it is weak procurement by the company that is as much at fault as the greed of the telco, but neither justify £600 plus costs.

    2. JamesJFoley

      Re: Take your number when you leave.

      Completely agree with you. It makes sense to have a personal number (for life) that your friends and family call you on, and that stays with you no matter which company you work for.

      At the same time, it makes sense for the business to give you a separate business mobile number so that, if and when you leave the business, they can simply reallocate this to another member of staff.

    3. Jay 2

      Re: Take your number when you leave.

      Fortunately I spotted that one a few years back. At the time I'd only ever had two mobile numbers, both for work, which everyone used to get hold of me.

      So with the assistance of our helpful IT purchasing staff I managed to port the work Blackberry number to my own iPhone and then get a new number for the BB.

      Work were pretty OK about the odd personal call on mobiles, but I thought it best to be independant. Admittedly I now have to carry 2 mobiles every now and again. Though there's a fair bit to be done via email on the BB. I don't think having the work "mobile" number redirected to my iPhone would be as productive.

      1. JamesJFoley

        Re: Take your number when you leave.

        Thanks Jay. Think about this though - everyone manages multiple email identities from one device (PC/Laptop/Ipad). We can choose to login and send/receive email from our company email accounts, personal email accounts, facebook email accounts all from the same device without giving it a second thought.

        And so it will be with smartphones. Just because you only get one mobile number as a default on a smartphone, it doesn't mean that you should have to carry two phones if you want to present yourself with two separate identities. If you can have your work calls/SMS on the same device as your personal calls/SMS, and these two identities are kept entirely separate (such as whispering to you if the call you've received is a business call) then why not ?

        I think in a few years time people will look back at the time that people carried separate phones to maintain separate identities as a little strange. We're the first with this, but I know it's the start of a trend that will become pretty commonplace.

        James Foley

  15. Matt Piechota


    Setting aside privacy implications, this sounds a lot like Google Voice as well.

  16. Oldfogey

    Kids today!

    When I retired, mobile phones were still analogue, and though common were not universal.

    Work said they needed to contact me when I was out and about - did I have a mobile? Answer was NO. They decided it wasn't that important, so they couldn't justify issuing me one.

    Reminds me of when there was a big job coming up, but I was booked on holiday.

    "Where are you going in case we need to contact you urgently?"


    "But where?"

    "Well, I catch a ferry at Dover. When I get to Calais I look at the weather maps, then decide whether to head North, East, or South"

    Idiots assumed I must be booked into a nice resort hotel somewhere.

  17. JamesJFoley

    Thanks for all your comments on this piece. It's an interesting debate about the pro's and con's of BYOD and many companies are just dipping their toes into the BYOD water.

    BYOD isn't a religion. Some companies are embracing it wholesale, and other companies are resisting it, but most are somewhere inbetween. However, even for those companies that have a 'No BYOD' policy, BYOD is happening by default.... folks are still coming to meetings with their own iPads, making notes (which may be company sensitive) on their own tablets. The issue then becomes not whether your are for or against BYOD, but how does a company manage it from a security perspective, what are their policies around network access, what are the taxation (or rebate) implications for people using personal devices for work.

    Infact, the issue we address isn't really about BYOD or not BYOD. It's about the need for a 'dual persona' device, one that supports communications with two distinct identities - business and personal. So, no matter who actually provides the device (the company or staff) we are seeing a lot of demand from people and companies alike to separate personal and business communications. Yes, you can do this by carrying two separate handsets (just as you can carry multiple laptops each of which sync to a separate email server), but it's just a lot smarter for a single device to support the concept of dual identities. I think if you fast-forward 3 years, you'll look back at the time that you had to carry two separate devices as quite quaint.

    If you've got any questions on this, please don't hesitate to check out our website at or ask any questions on this forum.


    James Foley

    1. kmac499

      Company Sensitive Data

      We here this a lot on these forums "company sensitive" or "commercial in confidence" I have to say that I seriously question just how much information is genuinely that sensitive.

      I think CorpInfo comes in three flavours.

      1) Genuine Intellectual property such as the algorithms of software, Googles page ranking; Physical manufacturing techniques, Rolls Royce turbine blades; Recipes, Coca Cola; Aerodynamic tricks, F1 cars etc..

      2) Organisational info such as, Organograms, Customer lists, Inventory levels

      3) Financial info such as, How much cash have we got, How much we make. plus the biggest secret of all Pay rates.

      Only the loss of Type1 can invalidate a businesses unique services, disclosure of the others will only show up failings in the way a business is run.

      1. JamesJFoley

        Re: Company Sensitive Data

        I agree with your sentiment in that, clearly, not all company information is sensitive. For many users, in many companies, a lot of 'corporate' data they may have on their device may be of limited sensitivity. Therefore taking a one-size-fits-all approach to security is probably going to cause a lot of cost and inconvenience to a lot of users unnecessarily.

        However, in a number of sectors, and for a number of users across all sectors, there is highly sensitive data that you may wish to hold on your device (even the corporate directory of staff, names, email and contact details can be highly sensitive in some sectors).

        Therefore, you want to make sure your BYOD security policies are flexible enough to provide bullet-proof security to those who need it, and can be a little more relaxed to those that don't. Those that are carrying sensitive data will appreciate they are being protected should the device be lost/stolen, which those that aren't will appreciate the freedom that less shackles will provide.

        James Foley

  18. kmac499

    Numpty Club Member

    Yes I use my personal phone for work. because we are a small company that needs to give service. we were tempted by two devices but all the problems of two devices contracts etc. Dual Sim was tempting but I haven't found a nice dual handset yet. I work around the poblem by the magic of a good contacts phonebook with differing ring tones. If someone out there wants to come up with a scheduler that automatically sends work calls to message box out of hours and or mulitple message boxes. I'm interested.

    1. JamesJFoley

      Re: Numpty Club Member

      Hi there,

      We've listened to your requirements, and other people like you, and will be launching in January 2015 timetable-based routing as part of our smartnumber mobile service.

      With this facility, calls to your personal number on your device will always go through - whereas calls to your business number can be controlled according to time-tables that you set. You can decide what times you are prepared to take business calls (perhaps Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm), and then what you want to happen to calls outside of these hours. For example, you may want the calls to go to your business voice-mail - or perhaps delegate these to another colleague or shift. Either way, should you receive business calls out of hours, you can rest assured that your phone will not ring, yet your calls will be handled automatically as you have required.

      James Foley

  19. JamesJFoley
    Thumb Up

    You want to stop business calls out of hours ? You've got it!

    One of the obvious potential drawbacks of using a single device for personal and business calls is ensuring that these business calls don't encroach of your personal life. With a two mobile solution you can simply leave your work mobile at work outside of business hours and thereby you will never have your personal life interrupted with business calls.

    We recognised this fundamental requirement when we designed smartnumbers mobile. So, coming in January is the ability to set timetables for your business calls. Outside of hours, calls to your business mobile number will never ring - and you can choose whether to send the caller to your business voicemail or to route to some other service (such as an out of hours operator etc). It's up to you.

    In that way, your personal calls will always ring your device day or night - but calls to your business mobile number are able to be tightly controlled - and ring only during the hours you set.

    For more information see or ask me further questions which I will try to answer.


    James Foley

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