Wireless Communication Devices/Cellular Telephone Service

Policy No: 
Type of Policy: 
Last Revised: 
January 2005
Review Date: 
September 2019
Policy Owner: 
Info Tech- Information Security
Contact Name: 
Cas D'Angelo
Contact Title: 
OIT Telecommunications Director
Contact Email: 
Reason for Policy: 

It is the responsibility of Georgia Tech and each of its budgetary units to implement procedures to effectively use communication services and equipment at the lowest possible cost. With the rapid growth in wireless communication devices (WCDs), and with the Georgia Tech philosophy of unit- based management, heads of budgetary units (Vice Presidents, Deans, School Chairs, Department Heads) or their designee are authorized to approve the acquisition of wireless communication devices and services. WCDs for purposes of this policy include, but are not limited to: cellular or PCS phones, blackberries, personal digital assistants with connectivity, two-way radios (traditional and trunked-technologies), and pagers. By contrast, cordless telephones, headsets and other devices not subject incremental usage charges are not included.

Policy Statement: 

Guidelines for Acquisition and Use and Unit Responsibilities

An Institute assigned WCD/ cellular telephone and service may be an appropriate resource to conduct Institute business when it is demonstrated an employee cannot perform his or her duties without a WCD/cellular telephone or that improved performance ensuing from WCD/cellular telephone service will justify the investment. The individual units or departments are responsible for:

  • Specifying authorized and unauthorized uses of wireless or mobile devices
  • Maintaining the approval justification for each WCD/Cellular phone device and service issued or approved.
  • Documenting procedures for processing reimbursement for business use of personal WCD or cellular telephones.
  • Maintaining an inventory of wireless devices in shared pools and individually-assigned, by type.

The inventory of WCDs maintained by each unit shall document, at the very least, each individual device type, the service provider for such device, and the assignee (individual user or most granular organizational unit in the case of shared/pool devices). Such inventory must be kept current by each unit or department, and made available for inspection by GIT Internal Audit or any authorized external agency upon request. Inventory reports shall be forwarded to Financial Services and/or the Office of Information Technology on a semi-annual basis, as directed.

Criteria for Determining Need

A department may acquire WCD/a cellular telephone service for an employee where communications needs cannot be met with other available alternatives such as a paging device, a radio, or standard telephone equipment. Examples of conditions under which a WCD/cellular telephone devices and service may be obtained if these criteria are met include the following:

  • A WCD/cellular telephone is required to directly enhance an employee's job responsibility of protecting the physical safety of the general public.
  • A WCD/ cellular telephone is required for an employee to respond better to environmental emergencies.
  • A WCD/cellular telephone is required for additional protection for the employee in potentially hazardous working conditions.
  • An employee cannot adequately meet communications needs with other available alternatives such as a paging device or a radio.
  • A WCD/cellular telephone is required for on-call personnel required to respond to critical system failures or service disruptions
  • A WCD/cellular telephone is determined to be the most appropriate means of responding to campus emergencies or to achieve business efficiencies.
  • Cost savings realized when an employee combines or eliminates landline or services.

The unit head (or designee) of employees using Institute owned WCD/telephones is to initially determine the business needs and select an appropriate airtime package that meets these needs. Additionally, call activity is to be reviewed on a monthly basis to ensure that the appropriate airtime bundle (minutes per month) has been selected and that no additional charges were incurred due to personal calls. If a manager identifies any non-reimbursed personal calls, which have not been reported by the affected employee, the department will collect the cost of such call(s) from the employee and take any appropriate disciplinary action.

Personal Usage

WCD/Cellular phones assigned to Institute faculty or staff members are PRIMARILY for official business use. While incidental personal use is reasonable in order to prevent the employee from carrying two devices, this use should not result in additional charges to the Institute. If a personal emergency arises that requires the extended or extensive use of the WCD/cell phone to make personal calls, the faculty or staff member is to notify their department head or supervisor and reimburse the Institute for those calls that create additional charges. Reimbursement to Georgia Tech for any WCD/cellular call for personal use should be deposited with the Bursar's Office (Lyman Hall) by the department, along with a copy of the annotated bill noting the personal call and cost.

Ordering and Payment Administration

The following ordering and payment processing options shall be used for all WCDs/cellular phones issued for positions meeting the requisite criteria. The Central Purchasing Office will procure WCD/cellular telephone services via negotiated agreements available to Georgia Tech employees. In special circumstances, Purchasing may utilize other agreements obtained from any carrier who best meets the needs of the Institute.

  1. Institute-Owned WCD/Cellular Telephones and Service For positions meeting the requisite criteria, departments should acquire WCD/cellular telephone services via departmental PCard, after completing any necessary forms provided by the service vendor representative to establish legitimate Georgia Tech service account(s). Only designated Georgia Tech Procurement officials may enter into contracts on behalf of Georgia Tech, and any actual contracts should be forwarded to Procurement for review and signature; any contracts signed by an unauthorized employee are in effect, personal obligations of the employee. When using the PCard for payment, the default expense code must be changed to 773500 utilizing the Georgia Tech PCard reallocation tool or cost transfer application. The Request for Wireless Communication Devices/Cellular Telephone Service form should be completed by the employee and approved by the Dean, Vice President, School Chair, Department Head or their designee and filed in the department.
  2. Privately-Owned WCD/Cellular Telephones and Service

    Heads of budgetary units may authorize employees to receive reimbursement for business-related calls made from privately-owned WCD/cellular telephones. Such reimbursements shall be for the cost of business-related calls only and shall not include any portion of the cost of WCD/cellular telephone equipment, installation or basic monthly service fees unless the WCD is used solely for official business. A completed Check Request Form (CRF) should be submitted to Accounts Payable including a copy of WCD/cellular telephone bill with the business related calls and charges highlighted. For calls over $10.00, the person or organization called and business purpose is to be noted.

    Additionally, it may make economic and business sense to pay a differential price to boost an employee's current airtime package on their personal phone by an amount sufficient to cover the addition of business calls. If the unit head determines that this approach is in the best interest of the Institute, they should document the rationale for this decision, keep on file, and review annually to ensure that this is still appropriate. The employee shall keep a copy of all monthly usage bills for the current review period, to assist with the annual review and service renewal process.

Right to Monitor Communications and Right to Privacy

Georgia Tech reserves the right to investigate, retrieve and read any communication or data composed, transmitted or received through voice services, online connections and/or stored on its servers and/or property, without further notice to employees, to the maximum extent permissible by law. Express notice to employees stating that there is no right to privacy for any use of Institute telecommunications equipment and services should be included in the assignment form granting access to Institute WCDs/cellular telephones and/or services.

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