25.60 Wireless Communication Usage & Allowance Policy, Chancellor's Office Business Practices & Procedures


To establish policies and procedures related to the use of wireless communication devices and reimbursement for business use of personally owned wireless communication devices or services paid with personal funds.


In general, the Chancellor’s Office shall not provide wireless communication devices to its employees. The exceptions to this rule are wireless communication devices 1) required to conduct research projects and charged to grant budgets, 2) used for short-term projects, or 3) used for emergency or disaster recovery purposes.

Effective Date:

January 1, 2007 with full implementation by June 30, 2007


A. Business Use of Wireless Communication Device(s) on a Regular Basis:

It may be necessary for some employees to use wireless communication devices to conduct Chancellor’s Office business on a regular basis. In these cases, the Chancellor’s Office will provide a wireless communication allowance for employees who must use his/her personal wireless communication device for work purposes, subject to the following conditions:

  1. The Department Head must authorize the employee to use his/her personal wireless communication device for Chancellor’s Office business. The employee’s supervisor shall sign the authorization form, “Wireless Communication Allowance Agreement.” The approved form should be submitted to Business Services. A copy of the approved form should be retained by the department and another copy given to the employee.
  2. By January 10th of each year the employee is responsible for turning in to Business Services and his/her supervisor the first page of his/her wireless communication bill for the most recent month to document that the employee still has the wireless communication device and the cost is equal to or greater than the allowance being received.
  3. The monthly wireless communication allowance is paid as a recurring non-taxable payment through accounts payable once a month.  The allowance amount is based on the following:


Description of CO Business Use

Monthly Allowance*


   Occasional/Infrequent Use

   $ 15/month


   Routine Use

   $ 60/month


   Frequent Use/Advanced Mobile Devices

   $ 75/month

    *The allowance cannot exceed 90% of your wireless base plan cost.
  1. There are certain positions within the Chancellor’s Office that may require a usage plan that exceeds any low cost plan available. These special requirements may be processed on a case-by-case basis through Business Services, upon approval by the employee’s supervisor, the Department Head, and the Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration.
  2. Once approved, the allowance shall continue to be paid until the Department Head notifies Business Services that the employee no longer needs a wireless communication device to accomplish his/her job.

B. Business Use of Wireless Communication Device(s) on an Irregular Basis:

Some employees may have a need to use wireless communication devices to conduct Chancellor’s Office business only on an irregular basis, and are therefore not provided with a wireless communication allowance. In this case, the Chancellor’s Office will reimburse the employee for any incremental costs incurred due to the business calls made, subject to the following conditions:

  1. The employee must submit a Business Expense Reimbursement Request form with documentation of his/her wireless communication bill with business calls identified. Incremental cost for these calls should also be identified. Incremental costs to be reimbursed are those additional costs incurred that are associated with business calls, over the monthly plan cost.

Example: If an employee is charged for 40 minutes in excess of plan minutes and 30 minutes of business calls are identified that month, the employee is reimbursed for the cost of 30 minutes.

See procedures included in section 25.30 Business Expense Reimbursements for details about submitting a reimbursement request.

C. Personal Use of Chancellor’s Office-Provided Wireless Communication Device(s)

While the Chancellor’s Office generally will not provide wireless communication devices to employees, there are some exceptions to this rule. Wireless communication devices that are 1) required to conduct research projects and charged to grant budgets, 2) used for short-term projects, or 3) or used for emergency or disaster recovery purposes may be obtained through the campus Telecommunications Department or directly through wireless communication service providers.

In the instances where the Chancellor’s Office is providing wireless communication devices for use by its employees, employee use of Chancellor’s Office-provided devices is limited to official Chancellor’s Office business only. However, it is understood that there may occasionally be situations when a wireless communication device will be used for personal reasons. In the rare circumstance in which an employee uses a Chancellor’s Office-provided wireless communication device for personal use, the employee must reimburse the Chancellor’s Office for that use, subject to the following conditions:

  1. The reimbursement rate shall be $0.20 per minute for personal use, or the actual cost to the Department, whichever is greater.
  2. The reimbursement shall occur within thirty days after the Department receives its communication bill.
  3. The reimbursement should be noted on the communication bill by the individual that receives the reimbursement. The following should be documented:

a. Itemize the calls being reimbursed

b. The amount received

c. Initials of the person receiving the reimbursement

d. The date of the reimbursement

See procedures included in section 20.10 Receipts for details about depositing cash and checks.


  • Smart Phones – Phones that allow secure access to the OUS campus e-mail environment (e.g., Blackberries and Treos)
  • Wireless Communication Devices – Devices that provide for wireless communication (e.g., Cell phones and Internet Service Providers)


Questions & Answers

Can I receive the communication allowance before I am signed up for my own wireless communication device? No. A copy of the communication service invoice must accompany the application for the communication allowance to verify the service exists and the cost.

If I receive a communication allowance, can I use any cell phone carrier or plan?  Yes. The phone and service are yours. Any carrier may be used and you can choose a plan that best fits your personal needs. The amount of the allowance will be determined by the approved allowance with your department head. Some providers have discounts available for OUS employees. Check with the carrier.

Can I use the cell phone for personal calls if I receive a communication allowance? Yes, because you own the phone and you do not have to document calls. You will no longer be required to carry two phones, one for business and the other for personal use.

What if my carrier advises me that an early termination fee will be charged if I terminate the contract before my plan expires. Can I add this to my communication allowance? No, this cost is a personal expense which you would be responsible for paying if you terminate the contract early.

Does this policy apply to Treo, Blackberry, and other hand-held devices? Yes, these are considered Smart Phones. Any cost to purchase the equipment is a personal expense and will not be reimbursed.

Can a personally-owned Blackberry or Treo be connected to OSU’s network servers? Yes, contact your campus Telecommunications for details. There is a monthly service fee which will be charged to the departmental index.

Who is eligible for a communication allowance? Any employee is eligible to apply. To be approved, the employee must have an official business need for the device or service and must have the approval of his/her department head. The appropriate Vice Chancellor, or designee must also approve the payroll request to establish the allowance.

Does everyone get an allowance for a personally-owned cell phone or internet connection? No. This is not an entitlement. You should only receive the allowance if your job requires that you carry a cell phone where other less expensive means of communication are not adequate (land-lines not readily available), or your job requires you to have an internet connection away from the university premises.

When will the allowance be available?  Approved agreement forms must be turned in to Business Services by the 10th of the month. All agreements received after the 10th will be processed in the following month. There is no retro-active payment of the communication allowance.  Allowances expire December 31st of each year.  A new form must be approved and submitted each calendar year.

Can the communication allowance be paid using grant and contract funds?No, the communication allowance is not an allowable direct cost on a grant or contract. Per OMB Circular A-21, communication access costs are considered part of indirect cost; also there is no substantiation of use for audit purposes. This allowance must be paid with departmental funds; education & general, gift, or endowment.

My plan has changed. How do I change the amount of my allowance? Complete a new Wireless Communication Allowance Agreement. Approved forms received by Business Services by the 10th of the month will be processed in that month’s payroll.

Last Updated: 04/24/14