Telecommunications giant AT&T announced a bundled Internet offer that includes high speed Internet access, WiFi and mobile broadband, plus unlimited online personal computer data backup with remote access from any broadband Web-connected device, starting at an introductory price of $90 a month through Aug. 31.
The service, called Broadband on the Go, is currently available to small businesses across the company's 22-state local footprint. The services, which help enable small businesses to access their data from anywhere, include high-speed Internet, available with downstream speeds up to 24 Mbps (on the U-verse platform), LaptopConnect mobile broadband, Tech Support 360 Backup and Go with automatic online backup of computer files and basic WiFi connectivity at more than 20,000 hotspots across the country.
The service includes U.S.-based business-class technical support, all-in-one protection suite for selected tiers and up to 11 e-mail accounts, as well as enabling small businesses to remotely access saved files from any web-connected laptop or mobile broadband device and send links to files or folders for sharing and collaboration. According to Compass Intelligence, a high-tech market analytics firm, small businesses (less than 100 employees) spent $5.6 billion in 2009 on wireless data services and expect to spend $18.9 billion in 2014, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of 27.6 percent.
"We estimate that small businesses make up roughly 38 percent of business wireless subscribers, while comprising about 45 percent of wireless data spend," said Kneko Burney, president of Compass Intelligence. "As such, small businesses are a crucial segment of the wireless data market, and these customers' spending is only expected to rise in the coming years. Additionally, our research shows that small businesses spend more on average per user for wireless data than their enterprise counterparts, primarily because a greater percentage of their workforce is mobile and likely to rely only on wireless for their business connectivity."
According to the Small Business Technology Poll, a study released earlier this year by AT&T, 71 percent of small businesses responding indicated they use laptop data cards and nearly 79 percent indicated they use Wi-Fi hotspots to conduct business-related activities. Moreover, 60 percent of small businesses indicated they use their laptop more now to access data through mobile networks than they did two years ago and nearly 68 percent use Wi-Fi hotspots more now to access data than they did two years ago.
In addition, the study revealed that nearly 85 percent of small businesses felt recovering data would be important following a disaster. Yet only 30 percent of small businesses use off-site data backup, such as online backup. So in the event of a disaster that destroys their office, a majority of small businesses are at risk of losing critical data because they're not prepared. The Tech Support 360 Backup and Go component of the new broadband bundle is included to address that potential risk, the company noted.