SBC Deepens Discounts for SMBs

Thursday Jul 10th 2003 by SmallBusinessComputing.com Staff
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The southern 'Baby Bell' offers deeper discounts on bundled wired and wireless services to small businesses seeking to find a sense of cost certainty in this challenging economy.

SBC Communications this week introduced two key enhancements to its small business telecommunications portfolio that significantly changes the pricing of critical wireline and wireless services.

The company released a new service package called Business Unlimited. The new program features an access line, unlimited local and long distance calling, and popular call management features for $58.99 a month. The SBC Business Unlimited plan is designed for small businesses with five or fewer phone lines.

Additional small business calling options are available, including a monthly $20 unlimited SBC Long Distance calling plan (per line) with the purchase of a qualifying SBC local package. A similar unlimited local and long distance calling package with a hunting series access line also is available. After the first line, additional lines can be added for $43.99 a month for unlimited local and long distance calling.

SBC Business Unlimited and unlimited long distance options were launched this week in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas, and similar plans were launched in California and Nevada last month. Availability in Missouri is planned for later this month.

"It is important that telecommunications providers offer services and plans that can meet the unique needs of small businesses," said Mike Lauricella, Yankee Group program manager, small and medium business communications. "Flat rate offerings provide a compelling option for many small businesses that are looking for more stability and increased savings in their telecommunications budgets."

Additionally, in mid-July, SBC companies will offer even greater savings for new Cingular subscribers who choose to jointly bill their new wireless plan with their SBC Connections package. SBC Connections service packages with Cingular wireless plans will include a 20 percent discount off monthly access charges — double the current discount rate of 10 percent off home plans and four times the existing discount of five percent on national calling plans. The Cingular discount will be available for new Cingular customers in the SBC West, Southwest and Midwest regions who choose to jointly bill their wireless and wireline services.

The new offerings are substantial enhancements to the company's ongoing strategy to gain and retain customers in the highly competitive small business market.

"Small businesses need great values, particularly in this down economy, but they also need cost certainty — the ability to plan monthly expenses and minimize surprises," said Ray Wilkins, president, SBC Marketing and Sales.

"We are absolutely committed to delivering service options and pricing that enable small businesses to use the latest telecommunications services to maximum competitive advantage," Wilkins added. "These new long distance and wireless offers are the latest examples of that commitment."

The new, deeper discount for SBC Connections Cingular wireless offerings is another key enhancement to the company's ongoing strategy to deliver service packages designed with the flexibility to meet the specific telecommunications needs of smaller companies, ranging from one to 50 employees or more, while at the same time offering significant savings, a single bill for all telecom services, and improved, personalized customer service and support from a single point of contact.

"For nearly any business today, wireless is a critical part of the telecommunications mix," Wilkins said. "Our strong affiliation with Cingular enables us to serve as a single point of contact for service packages that meet every element of telecommunications needs."

The new wireless offerings are part of an overall effort to maximize collaboration and integration between SBC companies and Cingular, the nation's second largest wireless carrier. SBC owns 60 percent of Cingular, so the companies also have initiated joint sales to provide customers with a unified resource for wireless services, as well as wireline voice and data offerings.

First introduced in March, SBC Connections packages provide competitive telecommunications services to the small business market. SBC contends that small businesses prefer to obtain telecommunications services from single, rather than multiple providers. The ability to aggregate some or all of these services and deliver price discounts on a single bill represents an opportunity for small business to consolidate their telecommunications vendors and hopefully save a little money in doing so.

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