Lower Telecom Bills? It's a 15/50 Proposition

Wednesday May 19th 2004 by Lauren Simonds
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SBC promises to either save you money on phone and Web charges or to pay you for your time. Is this really a can't-lose deal?

SBC, a Fortune 50 telecommunications giant based in San Antonio, Texas, is actively courting small businesses with its recently announced "15/50 Promise" campaign, a promotion aimed at small business owners who are interested in consolidating their telecommunications services and saving money in the process (are there any who aren't?).

Here's the deal: Call an SBC representative and spend 15 minutes on the phone discussing the type of communications services you currently receive and how much they cost. If the rep isn't able to recommend SBC services that save you money, the company will send you a check for $50 — unless you're located in Ohio or Indiana, in which case you get a $50 Best Buy gift card.

"The SBC 15/50 Promise campaign demonstrates just how serious we are about helping small businesses save on their telecom expenses," said Ray Wilkins, group president of SBC's sales and marketing. "Time is money for small businesses, and we respect that ... if a small business calls us and we can't save them money, we'll pay them for their time. It's as simple as that."

Offer Valid in Participating States
The offer applies to businesses located within SBC's local service areas in 12 states (Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin) that maintain up to 10 voice lines. SBC offers a range of small business telecom services including local access, local usage, local toll, long distance, wireless, DSL and Web-hosting services.

According to Wes Warnock, a spokeman for SBC, the company created the 15/50 Promise to draw attention to its SBC Connections for Business packages, "We tailor the service packages to each business owner's needs while offering significant discounts," says Warnock. "That flexibility, combined with having all your telecom services on a single bill, lets small business owners simplify and save."

The Power of One Provider
In the competitive telecommunications industry, many small businesses rely on different providers for various services. But keeping track of what rates you get and whether or not you're getting the best value isn't an easy task. "Our research shows that a great number of small businesses are paying more than they have to for some or all of their communications services," Wilkins says. "Additionally, many small businesses that switch providers do so without fully investigating their options or ensuring they're getting the best service package to meet their needs."

Slogging through all the various phone and Internet options can be daunting, so SBC's effort to simplify things a bit will most likely hold appeal for some businesses. Even if you aren't located in one of the 12 states that SBC covers, it makes sense to contact voice and data carriers in your area to see what package deals they offer small businesses. Cutting costs is on every small business owner's mind, and telecommunications is a good place to mine for savings.

Lauren Simonds in managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com.

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