The new policy seeks to increase data security and plan flexibility, while reducing costs.

On the recommendation of the Fast Forward Syracuse Telecommunications Initiative Team, the University will adopt a new Telecommunications and Mobile Devices Policy on July 1, 2015.

The new policy names AT&T the preferred cellular provider and seeks to increase data security and plan flexibility, while reducing costs.

The development of a campus-wide policy will result in effective and consistent distribution and use of cell phones, cellular-embedded tablets and laptops. The new policy will help supervisors identify faculty and staff members whose roles with the University require them to have a University-provided cellular smartphone and/or a cellular-embedded tablets or laptops. Consolidating vendors should help the University realize an annual savings of approximately $250,000 and allow for more effective management of data plans.

“Through our information gathering with faculty and staff over the past several months, the Telecom Initiative Team discovered a substantial savings opportunity,” says Al Weinberger, senior director of technical systems and services for AEA and a telecom initiative team member. “This is a good policy for the University to implement and another way for faculty and staff to be good stewards of students’ tuition dollars.”

Mobile Devices

Campus-wide stakeholder surveys revealed a nearly even split between current cellular providers Verizon and AT&T, resulting in a significant amount of overlap and unused minutes every month. As part of this new policy, the University will transition to AT&T as the single vendor unless a specific business case can be made for an individual user to use a different carrier. AT&T was selected by the team because of its plan flexibility and greater cost savings potential.

The Telecom Initiative team also created a cellular measuring rubric and usage guideline, which can be found within the policy, to help identify which positions should qualify for a University-provided cellular smartphone and/or a cellular-embedded laptop or tablet. Beginning in June, the scoring rubric will be used by college and department leaders to evaluate their unit’s overall current cellular device costs and whether modifications are necessary.


The Initiative Team also spent six months analyzing and investigating opportunities for cost savings in the use of landlines. The team discovered many faculty and staff members no longer rely on a traditional landline for communication. As a result, the University is initiating a voluntary effort to reduce the number of underutilized landline handsets that currently exist. Individuals who have a University-provided cellular device will be asked to fully assess their actual use of their landline and discontinue it if possible.

An information session will be held on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 in HL500 from noon- 1p.m. for faculty and staff members to learn more about this new policy. Faculty or staff members should discuss immediate questions with their supervisor or visit the policy web site.

Next Steps

June 3:           Faculty/Staff Information Session, Hall of Languages, Room 500, Noon- 1 p.m. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be available.

Now – July 1: Department leaders will use the scoring rubric to evaluate their unit’s overall current cellular device costs and whether modifications are necessary.

July 1 – Sept 30: Users who will transition off a University-provided cell phone will have a grace period to transfer the number and device to a personally funded cellular plan.

July 1 – Sept 30: Transition qualifying cellular users to AT&T through a faculty or staff member’s IT Department.

July 1 – Sept 30: Within the pool of employees with approved University-sponsored cellular devices, supervisors will evaluate (with input from budget managers, directors, etc.) the requirement of a landline. Where there is no requirement, supervisors can/may voluntarily discontinue landline service.

July 1 – Sept 30: Eliminate redundant cellular service devices (Utilize one assigned device per person that has cellular service enabled. If a user has a tablet and smart phone, the tablet will utilize the smartphone for Internet connectivity).

Ongoing: Continue to utilize cellular rubric for new and transferring employees. Measure and manage talk minutes, data usage and text usage to achieve cost savings and improve efficiencies.