T-Mobile USA is bringing its new "Simple Choice" no-contract plans to the B2B market, hoping that its "uncarrier" rebranding effort will also translate into more enterprise sales. The plans are priced from $50 per month to $70 per month and are essentially exactly the same as what T-Mobile offers on the consumer side.
The carrier is pitching the new plans as an easier way for business customers to manage their wireless service. Additionally, the company unveiled a new "Business Extras" bundle, designed to give enterprise customers more value-added services and savings.
Earlier this year Frank Sickinger, the No. 4 carrier's senior vice president of B2B, said T-Mobile hoped to grow its B2B market share significantly this year by focusing on plans that do not gouge enterprise customers on pricing, as well as by offering enterprise customers new products and services. The carrier's announcement today seems to fit in that mantra.
And, as with its consumer Simple Choice plans, business customers can either buy their smartphone outright for the full cost of the device or they can make a down payment and then pay for the remainder of the cost of the device in monthly installments. Additionally, customers can bring unlocked devices to T-Mobile.
As for its new "Business Extras" bundles, T-Mobile will offer services like 24/7 remote IT support and paper-to-mobile forms conversion for free to any small business customer who activates a new line or renews an existing line of service (with a minimum of a 500 MB data plan) before Sept. 30, 2013. The bundles typically cost hundreds of dollars per year.
T-Mobile's new service plans for businesses are notable since the carrier last year quietly introduced shared data plans for its business customers. Under those plans, if a company wanted to sign up for 500 GB of data across 500 users, for example, each of those users could be signed up on a 1 GB plan and T-Mobile would not charge any overage until the common pool was used up.
T-Mobile said in a statement that it will continue to support a variety of plans for small business customers, including its pooled data plan, and is committed to giving them choice. "Ultimately, our B2B customers want to be able to choose the type of buying model that best suits their business needs," the company told FierceWireless. "For some, this means our new radically simple 'Simple Choice for Business' plan. For others, Classic and SIM-only, stackable voice or pooled data plans can be beneficial. For this reason, T-Mobile intends to continue to offer a choice of plans to its B2B customers."
T-Mobile's new Simple Choice plans will compete with new shared data plans for business users from T-Mobile's main rivals. For example, in January Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) launched shared data to its business users, expanding the addressable market for the shared data push the carrier launched last year with consumers. Verizon's Share Everything Plan for Small Business gives companies up to 25 lines of service. The plan provides unlimited talking and messaging and a shareable allowance of 30 GB ($225), 40 GB ($300) and 50 GB ($375). Users must also pay the monthly per-line access fee, which costs $40 for smartphones and $10 for tablets.
Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) followed suit in early March; its business-focused shared data plans for smartphones range from 20 GB to share with up to 10 lines starting at $139.99 for the first line to 60 GB for 30 lines for $349.99. The plans include unlimited talking and texting.
Sprint also offers a range of business plans for individual enterprise customers, including is Everything Business plan, which offers unlimited voice, messaging, push-to-talk service and data on the Sprint network for $99.99 per month for smartphone users.
A few weeks after Sprint announced its shared data plans for businesses, AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) launched its own new shared data plan pricing for small business customers. The new options include unlimited voice and texting and offer buckets of 30 GB per month ($300), 40 GB ($400) and 50 GB ($500). Customers still must pay a monthly fee for each device added to the account ($30 for smartphones, $10 for tablets, etc.) AT&T said businesses can add up to 10 devices for plans up to 20 GB; 15 devices for 30 GB plans; 20 devices for 40 GB plans; and 25 devices for 50 GB plans.
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Article updated April 30 with comment from T-Mobile.