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NextGen Magazine


Companies Increasingly Issue Work Phones to Avoid Employee Use of Unsecured Apps

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Mar 3, 2023

Welcome back to the early 2000s. The days of carrying two phones have returned for some, Reuters reported.

Fearful of unsecured apps such as WhatsApp and TikTok, companies are giving their employees phones, resulting in a boom for telecom companies.

The surge in new phones purchased by companies have provided a “tailwind” for subscriber gains at AT&T Inc., its chief financial officer said. The CFO at  T-Mobile US Inc. reported consecutive quarterly growth in 2022.

Concerns about security and compliance are driving this surge, which was once seen as a corporate perk in the days of the BlackBerry. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (FTC) are using their regulatory authority to monitor unauthorized private communication on these applications ,such as TikTok, WhatsApp, GroupMe and Twitter, and through personal email.

The congressional ban on TikTok from government employees’ phones has prompted organizations to choose between requiring their workers to remove apps from personal phones that they also use for business, or to offer them a secure second device. 

While AT&T and T-Mobile do not disclose business-phone subscriber numbers, Verizon Communications Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. do. Both saw more than 50 percent growth in business-phone customers last year.

The trend seems poised to continue, as it seems practical for both employers and employees.

“I like having my personal life more or less on one [phone], and business on the other,” Vincent Powell, an account manager in the San Francisco Bay area, told Reuters.