Verizon expands EIP to businesses, tweaks business service plans

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is hoping to boost sales to SMBs by enabling them to take advantage of the same installment plan for phones the carrier offers to consumers.

The nation's largest operator expanded its EIP program to business accounts, allowing them to spread interest-free device payments across 24 months without a contract. Verizon is marketing the move as a way to help organizations buy new devices or replace existing equipment without incurring heavy upfront costs.

Verizon also simplified its service plans for businesses, creating one for accounts with 25 lines or fewer (The Verizon Plan for Business) and another for accounts with 26 or more lines (the Flexible Business Plan). The new plans include shareable data and give business owners unlimited talk and text, unlimited international messaging from the U.S., and access to corporate e-mail using Good for Enterprise, Exchange ActvieSync or Lotus Notes Traveler.

To illustrate the difference between its EIP and a contract-based purchase, Verizon said a company activating 20 lines of service using a Motorola Droid Turbo 2 would pay roughly $4,000 upfront on contract. On a device payment plan, the same company would pay only $520 in device fees in the first month. The installment plan would save that company $600 over two years in total, Verizon said.

The new plans are yet another effort from Verizon to boost its presence in the enterprise as growth in the overall smartphone market slows. Earlier this week the carrier said it had teamed with Samsung to offer a new LTE network extender to boost weak coverage areas in businesses.

Of course, Verizon isn't the only top wireless carrier working to please business customers. For example, earlier this month AT&T launched a promotion enabling new and existing business customers to buy two smartphones for the price of one. T-Mobile last year launched new plans aimed at business customers with a simplified rate structure. And Sprint in July unveiled a new pricing structure for business customers that includes in one price point the cost of devices and service as well as a host of new value-added services and customer support. 

For more:
- see this Verizon press release

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