Apple Watch with Cellular

If you own a business you already know that adding devices to your service plan is not as simple as walking into an Apple Store and plunking down your money for an iPhone. In fact, in most cases you can't purchase a device directly from Apple if you a have business account. You have to buy devices directly from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

If you're an employee of a company that gives you a phone as part of your employment package, your options are even more limited. You'll need permission, or the equivalent of a hall pass, to get a new watch linked to your phone.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Take a quick scan of the business sites for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless and what you'll notice is, yes, they're all happy to sell you a Series 3 LTE, but there's a dearth of information available on how to add that device to your business plan. A fact that's also obvious if you take a spin through Apple's support forums.

I have my business service with AT&T and, as noted in that thread, there is absolutely no information on AT&T's Premiere Business site indicating how to add an Apple Watch LTE to an account. And this is the only place business owners have to add new lines and upgrade phones.

So if these websites are useless, what do you do? You make a call, which is what I did with all four carriers.

You can thank me later.

The Good News

Unlike iPads and iPhones added to your business account, you can buy your Series 3 LTE anywhere you please. So if you have Best Buy bucks burning a hole in your pocket, you'll have no problem using those to buy your watch. So, feel free to buy your watch wherever you please. What you won't be able to do is pair that Watch to your iPhone and your carrier account like you normally would. Which, if you're me, happens when you're sitting in your car in the parking lot the moment you leave the store. There are, as my mother likes to say, "gates" involved. And to get through the gates you'll have to talk to the gatekeeper.

Enter The Gatekeeper

Unlike personal wireless accounts, business accounts have managers and the manager for your business account is the only one allowed to add lines. And your new watch is a new line on your account.

So, sorry, parking lot pairing is out.

What you'll need to do is take a trip to your carrier's store or make a call to your carrier's business service line to get the watch connected to your phone.

Once you step into the store or make that call the process is pretty simple. You'll need to add a $10/month line to the account, and then link your watch's LTE number to its associated phone number. You do need to make sure that the Watch you purchase is connected to your carrier of choice. Otherwise, you'll also need to purchase a SIM card.

All four carriers use number syncing features with names like NumberSync and DIGITS so that calls made to your phone ring through to your watch. This is true whether you have a business account or not. Once the line is added and linked to your number, you can pair your Apple Watch and phone using the Watch app on your iPhone.

The Bad News

And herein lies the rub; If you're Jane or Joe employee you can't just walk into a store or make a call to add an Apple Watch to your company's account. And if you're Jane or Joe account manager, you're going to have to go through this process for every Apple Watch added to your account. At present, there is no simple way using any of the business management features on your wireless carrier's website to add an Apple Watch LTE to your account. It's a phone call or a walk into a store to get a Watch set up.

For small companies with just a few phones this isn't too much trouble, but for large companies with a ton of wireless devices, this is nothing short of onerous. Fortunately, there are some workarounds, but caveats do apply.

Each of the wireless services allows an existing manager to add other users with purchase ability to a business account. But based on my conversations with each of the carriers, only AT&T offers what they call "Retail Users," which are users who can purchase devices that are linked to their existing number only, and which are linked to your business account. These users don't have management over other users, so they can't add new numbers and buy iPhones for all their family members, but they can add a new Apple Watch to their account if you enable this feature.

The other three carriers also allow you to add people as "points of contact," but when you do this you're also giving those users more access than you're likely to want them to have on your business account. So, adding Apple Watch devices will mean making the call yourself. Although, there is one other option.

BYOD and Bye Bye

If you're a business owner and you do offer employees wireless phones as part of an employment package, that's a pretty sweet deal and maybe I want to come work for you. But if management of those phones is a hassle, and particularly if your employees want a Series 3 LTE as part of the package, here's one more option for you: Figure out how much you're currently paying per device on your business plan, then give your employees a monthly stipend + $10 if you want to offer them Apple Watch access in addition to a phone. That should make everyone happy, including your wireless business account manager and it takes all of the management hassles out of your hands.

Any questions? Better answers?

Have you had to add an Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular to your business account? Find any workarounds or different pain points? Let us know!