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Mike JohnsonGuest author: Mike Johnson

With Halloween upon us, the ghosts and vampires are out in full force. For IT leaders, this reminds us of another nightmare: zombie phones, devices that you believe are dead but are actually still active and sucking money from your mobile budget.

These devices move into the realm of the undead in 2 ways:

  • First, many companies allow exiting employees to keep their company-issued phone, with the ex-employee now paying for the phone’s service. However, about 10% of the time, this billing transfer doesn’t happen, meaning the company continues to pay for a device it no longer owns.
  • Or, during employee transition, an active phone is put in a drawer or elsewhere out of sight, but its service is never turned off. As a result, this phone sits unused for months or even years, still with active service.


It’s generally estimated that mid-sized and larger companies may have up to 10% of these zombie phones still on their bill. For 500 phones, that’s 50 zombie phones, and at $900/year per phone, comes to $45,000 every year! At these rates, it’s not unusual for a very large company to be paying into the millions for these inactive phones.

What can you do to ensure you’re not paying for zombie phones? You might consider a manual device audit, or for a longer-term solution, a mobile device management plan. We have several partners and strategies to go along with Cisco and their BYOD Smart Solution, but whatever service you choose, it’s smart to make sure zombie phones aren’t sucking the life out of your budget this year. (Besides, zombies don’t suck, that’s vampires!)

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