Business phone glossary

Our glossary explains basic terms and abbreviations relating to mobile working, the use of smartphones and tablets in the corporate environment (Enterprise Mobility) and security aspects in the use of mobile devices.


COBO (corporate-owned, business only)

COBO (corporate-owned, business only)

Use of mobile devices exclusively for professional purposes

“COBO” is brief for company-owned mobile devices intended exclusively for business use. The abbreviation stands accordingly for “corporate-owned, business only”.

Purpose and benefits of COBO

The COBO allocation model describes the “classic” company device: The smart device belongs to the company and is made available to employees exclusively for business purposes. Additional private use is neither intended nor desired.

Companies often opt for this type of “pure” company cell phone because in this way the IT department retains complete control over the devices, which may be desired for reasons of IT compliance, for example.

Ultimately, it is almost always mobile security concerns that are addressed by a COBO allocation. In addition, COBO devices mean a homogeneous device landscape, which simplifies IT support and sourcing (device procurement).

COBO disadvantages

However, the higher IT security comes at the price of a whole series of disadvantages, starting with the unfavorable user experience due to an imposed second device.

No one likes to walk around with two smartphones in their pocket, which in the worst case also require different operating systems, charging plugs, etc. 

You often encounter employees whose company cell phone is more expensive and better than their private one–and yet they can’t use it. Frustration is inevitable here. This approach hardly meets the expectations of many employees in the working world and seems inflexible and outdated.

It is also worth mentioning the high procurement costs that the company incurs in the case of reasonably high-quality devices. The rigid exclusion of private use naturally rules out employee participation in the costs (co-payment).


The extension of the COBO deployment to include private use is called COPE (corporate-owned, personally enabled). This variant eliminates the need for a second device, thus increasing employee satisfaction and protecting the environment. A COPE company cell phone can also be used as a corporate benefit to recruit young talents from “Generation Z”.

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