Mobile Devices

University employees requiring a mobile phone for their work should enroll with a UBC plan, which will be paid directly by the unit or in certain circumstances may remain on their personal plan. 

Only amounts up to the first level of the corporate rates negotiated by UBC will be reimbursed to the employee or paid for the employee, unless a higher volume plan is justified and approved by one administrative level higher.

Other positions who are required to be connected to the University at times outside the normal business hours or who are mobile in their roles (e.g. Building Operations, Infrastructure Development, SHHS and UBC IT) can access mobile phone pools but will not have a dedicated phone assigned to them unless approval from one administrative level higher is obtained.

UBC has negotiated competitive plans and phone options, which have resulted in an excellent selection of zero cost phones:

A maximum allowance of up to $200 can be contributed by the unit towards the purchase of a mobile phone for:

  • All executives/deans/directors/senior managers, and
  • Other individuals who must be accessible due to job requirements (if pre-approved by one administrative level higher with appropriate justification).

Please provide a copy of the invoice to support the allowance paid out; otherwise, it will be considered a taxable benefit.

Review Corporate and Personal Plans

Any additional charge incurred as a result of personal use must be repaid to the University. 

When using your mobile phone or other device on University business travel, please discuss reimbursement arrangements with one administrative level higher in advance (i.e. regarding plan changes to accommodate travel).

Mobile Device Travel Tips
  • Use the least expensive means of communication such as landlines to make local calls, free secured WIFI whenever possible, or purchase prepaid phone cards.
  • Be aware of the roaming rates including airtime minutes, text messages and data usage (i.e. Skype, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)). Review your cellular rates at the travel destination to determine the appropriate economical travel option.
  • Having an unlocked phone for travel use with a purchased SIM card for the destination of travel, or adding a travel package to your existing cellular plan are other options to mitigate the costs.
  • Track and monitor your usage where possible.
  • Minimize cellular data usage by turning off data roaming, fetch data and background apps.
  • The University will not reimburse excessive roaming costs incurred by the UBC traveller; it is the responsibility of the traveller to manage this. Attempts to reduce the cost incurred through negotiation with vendor should be made to determine the final cost for reimbursement. Generally, excessiveness would be more than $100, which would be the cost of buying a data travel plan.
  • Access to the internet should be conducted through free WIFI when travelling, using VPN. Temporary data packages for phone or laptop can be purchased prior to travel if approved by one administrative level higher as necessary.

Please refer to UBC IT Costs for more information.


Employees who use their mobile phones for work purposes must maintain adequate security over the device (e.g. encryption) as required by the Information Security Standards.

Telephone numbers assigned to employees by the University for their mobile phone will be considered confidential unless it has been printed on a business card or otherwise made public.

UBC Records

Employees who store any work-related records on their devices should keep in mind that these records are owned by the University and may need to be produced in response to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, lawsuits, and disciplinary investigations.

Employees who cease to work at the University must destroy all work-related records in their possession unless otherwise authorized by the University.

Related Policies