Small businesses are the economic heartbeat of our nation. Managing a small business is challenging enough - with overseeing everything from payroll to IT. When the pandemic hit, consumer behavior changed overnight. Small business owners were forced to reimagine their plans in an unpredictable environment.
I have been amazed to see the resilience and innovation among small businesses, many of which have come back stronger and with more capabilities than ever before. Many have embraced a new generation of digital tools that make it easy to build a website or POS system affordably. Fitness centers have adopted ongoing virtual classes. Boutique shops have created e-commerce tools. Restaurants have developed contact-free delivery and pickup options. It's really inspiring to see these companies pivot to meet their customers' needs, and to do it safely.
But just as small businesses are starting to get back into a post-pandemic groove, they have been hit with a new challenge: inflation. With expenses going up everywhere, small businesses are being forced to switch gears once again. According to a recent survey from small business advocacy organization SCORE, nearly two-thirds saw their profits decline over the last six months. And more than half are experiencing higher utility and gas costs, rendering forecasts and business plans from just a few months earlier obsolete.
And even with inflation on the rise, it wasn’t exactly surprising to see that Verizon and AT&T recently hit customers with price increases. Verizon added a new “Economic Adjustment Charge,” which could potentially cost businesses an extra $1,300 more a year if they have only 50 lines with the extra $2.20 per line. Apparently that wasn’t enough, so they topped it off with an additional price increase of $6-12 per line – meaning Verizon slapped customers with higher bills twice in one month. AT&T announced it was simply “hiking prices” on business plans, some by as much as $12 a month. The Carriers aren’t helping – they are part of the inflation problem.
While AT&T and Verizon’s way of dealing with inflation has been to take more from customers, resulting in, according to their CEO, at least an additional $1.2B a year in revenue for Verizon alone, T-Mobile’s approach is just the opposite. We are giving our customers more without asking more from them – simply because we know it’s the right thing to do. In our most recent Un-carrier move, we gave customers a massive upgrade when they travel with Coverage Beyond, and we’re also promising that their rate plan price won’t go up with our Price Lock guarantee.
With business travel on the rebound, we know employees have places to go – but travel costs are higher than ever. That’s why we launched Coverage Beyond – to help travelers save money and stay connected in the air and overseas. In addition to free in-flight Wi-Fi all flight long on select flights across American, Delta and Alaska Airlines – with United to come soon – we will also be giving Business Unlimited Ultimate and Business Unlimited Advanced customers a free app to help protect their data when traveling. The Secure Wi-Fi mobile app (coming soon) automatically encrypts a user’s data while using public Wi-Fi on smartphones, so business customers are more protected everywhere on Wi-Fi.
I'm proud to say that Coverage Beyond is also helping small businesses save with free high-speed data worldwide. Now business customers on our Business Unlimited Ultimate plan can travel with the luxury of 5GB of high-speed data - with up to 5G speeds where available - in more than 210 countries and destinations. You read that right. Business customers can now replace hefty expense reports to reimburse in-flight connectivity and international roaming charges with massive savings. The way I see it? It's a whole new world for business travel.
Because we recognize the threat of inflation to small businesses, we’ve been hard at work ensuring business customers know what to expect from us with our Price Lock guarantee – our promise that we won’t raise the price of our broadband or wireless rate plans.
And right now, our Business Unlimited Ultimate plan is offered at our lowest price ever for a limited time. So, if a business has three lines on our Ultimate plan, they'll save over $1,000 a year compared to three lines on Verizon's Business Unlimited Pro 2.0 plan. That's a nice extra chunk to help fund new equipment, boost advertising budgets or show employee appreciation - right?
Besides helping businesses overcome inflation, we at T-Mobile are constantly investing in our 5G network to make it America’s largest, fastest and most reliable, and we’re continuing to put businesses first. We want them to save more and worry less. And we won’t leave customers stuck with the other guys’ termination fees; we’ve got it covered with more than $6,000 in switching costs on us when they add 10 lines. (Yes, really.)
To all small businesses out there: We see you. We get the challenges you're facing. We know how to help tackle inflation. And most importantly, we have your back - now and always.