Telecommunications giant AT&T announced starting at $90 a month, small businesses can get connected to the business communications technologies, including tech support and data backup services, as a consequence of the company's All for Less bundle. The company noted pricing would vary depending on services purchased. Built for businesses with up to 10 wired voice lines, the bundles feature wired broadband and unlimited domestic calling as core services, with additional options including wireless voice, mobile broadband, remote technical support, online data back up and Website hosting.
The bundles are available to qualifying small business customers across AT&T's 22-state local footprint. In addition to essential services, including unlimited local and domestic long distance calling, high speed Internet (with download speeds up to 24M bps), and access to AT&T's more than 20,000 domestic WiFi hotspots, bundle options include wireless services and Web Hosting - Shared Hosting, which includes tools to set up an online presence.
TechSupport 360 features unlimited 24/7 live, IT certified, U.S.-based tech support and provides remote setup, configuration, troubleshooting and performance optimization support for PCs, laptops, WiFi networks and peripheral network devices. In addition to Tech Support 360, this bundle features Tech Support 360 Back Up and Go, a cloud-based service, offering unlimited backup and storage of data per PC with remote access from any location via broadband Web-connected computer or mobile device. In case of emergency, data can be recovered and loaded onto another computer.
"Until now, small businesses didn't have the option of bundling traditional communications services with other necessary services like tech support and data backup," said Karen Nielsen, senior consultant for telecom practice at technology market research firm AMI-Partners. "Communications bundles, like the new All for Less bundles from AT&T, enable small businesses, who stand to benefit from the convenience of working with a single provider, to take advantage of bundled pricing across a wider range of essential business services."
A company release stated the bundles provide savings up to 40 percent over what customers would spend if the services were purchased separately. In June 2009, AT&T initially introduced the All for Less bundle, which featured wireless voice, high speed Internet and unlimited domestic calling for less than $100.
"No other company is offering small businesses a bundle that features essential mobile and wired broadband, wireless and wired voice, and managed services," said Ebrahim Keshavarz, AT&T vice president of small business product management. "The new All for Less bundles provide affordable and flexible communications options that help customers mobilize everything, making their businesses more productive and, ultimately, more successful."
In August, the company unveiled a Broadband on the Go bundle, also aimed at small businesses. The bundle 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. 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 Compass Intelligence President Kneko Burney. "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."
AT&T's Small Business Technology Poll, a national study released earlier this year by the company, found 71 percent of small businesses responding indicated they use laptop data cards and nearly 79 percent indicate they use WiFi hotspots to conduct business-related activities. Moreover, 60 percent of small businesses said they use their laptop more now to access data through mobile networks than they did two years ago and nearly 68 percent use WiFi hotspots more now to access data than they did two years ago.
In addition, the study revealed that nearly 85 percent of small businesses feel that 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 might well lose critical data because they're not fully prepared.