SBC Intros Small Business Bundles

As corporations remain skittish about large, long-term contracts, communications service providers are aggressively courting small businesses to make up the difference.

The latest example is SBC Communications , which today introduced its Connections offering, a new package allowing customers to mix and match local, long distance, broadband, Web hosting and wireless services. It’s designed for companies with one to 50 employees.

Like their Fortune 1000 counterparts, small businesses want discounts and personalized service, as well as the flexibility to choose which options, said Ray Wilkins, SBC’s president of sales and marketing.

The promotion includes SBC Yahoo! DSL for $29.95 per month for a 12-month term or SBC Yahoo! DSL and Shared Web Hosting starting at $44.95 for a 12-month term. The contracts, aimed to reduce customer churn, represent about a 40 percent discount over standard rates.

The prices represent about a 40 percent discount over standard rates, SBC said. Wireless service from Cingular (a joint venture between SBC and BellSouth) can also be added.

In addition to an attractive service offerings presented on one monthly bill, SBC also realigned its sales and support staff, and hired outside service workers, to back up the Connections initiative.

SBC will roll out a multi-million-dollar print and radio ad campaign to promote Connections. The spots will emphasize the flexible offerings and price.

The San Antonio, Texas, carrier, which operates mostly in states in the Midwest and West, previously rolled out combined service offerings but those were focused on the consumer market.

Others betting on bundled services to win or retain small business customers include Covad and Verizon .

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