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Cellular Telephones: MIT Purchasing Policy for Wireless Device Purchases and Usage

On this page:

Policy overview
General terms of contract
Faculty and staff responsibility
Departmental responsibility
Procurement/IS&T joint responsibility
Procurement responsibility
IS&T responsibility

Policy overview

The following policy applies to wireless services (e.g., cell phones or pagers) which are used for business purposes. Services directly charged to MIT via MIT procurement card or purchase order are considered "MIT liable." Personal phones and student phones are not covered by this policy, although in some cases, the MIT negotiated pricing may be available to students and staff for personal use.

Because of the constant state of change in the wireless market, it is difficult for individuals and departments to stay abreast of the best pricing. For this reason, Procurement and IS&T have collaborated to select preferred vendor(s) for wireless phones. See: IS&T cellular telephones for information regarding preferred vendor(s). Although the discounts realized through these contract negotiations are significant, the real cost savings comes from aligning the specific plan with the actual calling pattern. Since calls that exceed the maximum monthly minutes are priced at a premium, each cell phone user should be on a plan whose maximum monthly minutes is somewhat greater than the duration of business calls they reasonably expect to make.

It is expected that any new MIT liable wireless services will be acquired from a preferred service provider, and, that as soon as economically feasible, any existing contracts will be transferred to a preferred service provider. Cell phone number portability became effective on November 24, 2003, which allows users to change cellular providers while keeping their existing cellular telephone number. In addition, any equipment, accessories and service plan acquired for business purposes should be paid for via an MIT procurement card or purchase order.

Reminder -- wireless/cell phones are not meant to replace office phones; rather, they are intended to enhance Institute provided office phones and communications. Despite the advertisements regarding 'free minutes', cell phone calls are not free, and in most situations, an office phone provides a more cost effective service.

General terms of contract

General terms of contract with preferred service provider(s):

  • Discount off current list price for basic monthly rates, equipment, and accessories
  • Wide range of plan options to fit a variety of situations
  • 1 year subscriber commitment, with option to change individual plan at any time without penalty
  • Option to group subscribers so one subscriber's extra minutes can be used to offset others' excess minutes

For complete contract details, see: IS&T Cellular Telephones.

Current MIT Contracts
MIT liable service which is already contracted with a preferred service provider will automatically receive the contract pricing. Business phones with a preferred service provider, which are reimbursed via an RFP, will require the subscriber (or delegate) to contact the service provider to receive the contract rates.

MIT liable contracts not currently with a preferred service provider should be converted as soon as the conversion cost is less than the anticipated savings. Any business phones currently reimbursed via an RFP, should be changed to the MIT Procurement card, or purchase order.

Note: MIT contract pricing may be available to employees and students for their personal phones. See: IS&T Cellular Telephones for information regarding personal phones.

Faculty and staff responsibility

Individuals are responsible for:

  • Using MIT liable phones for business purposes (See MIT policy, 13.2 Institute Policy on the Use of Information Technology, which states, in part, "The use of MIT's telephones is restricted to Institute business and necessary personal telephone calls.")
  • Paying any charges (e.g. overage) that result from personal calls
  • Reviewing their calling pattern relative to available plans to ensure alignment
  • Taking reasonable precautions to protect the phone from loss or theft (and to report any loss or theft as quickly as possible)

Failure to comply with these responsibilities may result in disciplinary action commensurate with any other misuse of MIT resources.

Departmental responsibility

Departments, Labs, Centers, Areas are responsible for:

  • Determining the criteria for when wireless communications warrants being MIT liable. Departments may choose to designate one person (e.g. the AO) to review wireless requests, and to place orders for MIT liable service.
  • Ensuring that any new phone services are established with a preferred service provider, using either the MIT procurement card or a purchase order.
  • Working with Procurement to determine appropriate alternatives if the preferred service providers cannot meet specific business requirements (e.g. a need for high data speed rates)
  • Establishing group pooling where appropriate
  • Monitoring charges and usage; specifically, reviewing cell phone bills at the detail level as part of their normal financial review and control.
  • Following up if there is misuse (e.g., excessive personal calls), and collecting payment from employees for overage charges resulting from personal use.
  • Following up if the calling pattern is not consistent with the current plan, or if other alternatives should be considered (e.g., pagers in lieu of cell phones)

Note: Senior management, Deans, OSP and others outside the department have the prerogative to set standards for what constitutes reasonable business purposes for MIT liable phones within their areas of responsibility.

See: IS&T Cellular Telephones for current guidelines for cell phone usage, and assistance in determining the appropriate plan.

Procurement and IS&T joint responsibility

Procurement and IS&T share responsibility for:

  • Negotiating the contracts with one or more preferred service providers
  • Communicating contract terms with the MIT community
  • Ensuring that preferred service providers perform in accordance with the contract
  • Receiving feedback on service provider performance and addressing systemic issues with service provider
  • Establishing ECAT interface
  • Providing detail web pages regarding pricing, guidelines for usage, FAQ

Procurement responsibility

In addition to the shared responsibilities listed above, Procurement is also responsible for:

  • Monitoring DLC spending patterns, especially with non-preferred vendors
  • Assisting members of the MIT community in determining the right plans based on specific situations
  • Notifying DLCs (and senior management, if requested) of areas of non-compliance, or misaligned plans

IS&T responsibility

In addition to the above mentioned shared responsibilities, IS&T is also responsible for providing first level technical support to members of the MIT community

Any questions regarding this policy, or its application should be referred to:
Catelin Matos, MIT Procurement Department, 617-253-8345