TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: AT&T Changes Marketing Tactics Again


AT&T Changes Marketing Tactics Again


Tara Seals (reuters@telecom-digest.org)
Sat, 21 Apr 2007 19:55:33 -0500

AT&T Changes Marketing Tactics to Embrace Wireless, Adds Cellular VPN Access

By Tara Seals

AT&T Inc. on Wednesday took the first steps to more fully integrate
wireless into its sales and marketing bundles. Essentially, AT&T is
refocusing its marketing engine post-BellSouth merger, to sell a
unified wireless-wireline portfolio. For instance, a combined
salesforce will offer both wireless and wireline service, rather than
the two arms of the business remaining separate entities.

Billing convergence will be the next step; the RBOC said the full
suite of both portfolios will be available on a single contract for
midsized and large business by the end of the year. Also, customers
may be able to make a single revenue commitment that includes both
wireline and wireless calling volumes, resulting in wireline service
discounts, and customers wireline calls could receive special
on-net rates when calling other AT&T wireless or wireline business
users.

AT&T is also packaging up service bundles for small businesses. A
quadruple-play package of integrated local, long-distance, data and
wireless services will become available in the company's 22-state
local service region later this year.

The Cingular Wireless portfolio is being fully thrown open to
businesses now, too. Midsized and large business customers will be
able to purchase any wireless service, plan or device offered by the
wireless carrier. Until now, only certain plans or devices were
available to AT&T business customers as part of an integrated offer.

Today's announcement is not all sales repositioning, however. The
company is also dipping into the fixed-mobile convergence waters with a
new application: cellular access to corporate AT&T VPNs. Remote and
mobile workers can use Wi-Fi or AT&T's wireless data service to access
their company's VPN, business applications and corporate information.

That application comes on the heels of news that AT&T and Cisco
Systems Inc. will bundle up the AT&T Wireless WAN Connectivity Service
and the new Cisco 3G-Enabled Wireless WAN High-Speed WAN Interface
Card (HWIC) for routers. The wireless module is enabled for AT&Tís
UMTS/HSDPA-based BroadbandConnect service, targeted at companies that
need diverse broadband backup, work in ad hoc situations such as
construction sites, work in rural areas and the like. On a broader
level, it helps extend the reach of the WAN and enables greater
convergence for the delivery of unified communications across a
variety of networks.

The move to embrace wireless more fully is simply a result of demand,
the company said. As of Dec. 31, revenue from AT&T's enterprise
wireless business customers has experienced double-digit growth,
compared with the previous six quarters, driven by strong demand from
companies that are increasing their spend for wireless and mobility
solutions.

And according to a Forrester Research survey, 60 percent of companies
polled said that they would spend more money on wireless technology in
2006 versus 2005. Wireless spending will account for 28 percent of
their total telecom budgets.

"Our latest service plans and access offerings underscore AT&T's
continued commitment to combining increasingly sophisticated
enterprise networking solutions with service plans that allow our
customers to generate immediate, bottom-line business benefits through
fast and reliable access to information and solutions that are
customized to meet their unique needs," said Bill Archer, AT&T's
senior vice president of product management. "Our recent acquisition
of BellSouth Corp. and the consolidation of Cingular Wireless has
significantly expanded the types of advanced communications services
that we can offer to customers, and we look forward to extending our
mobile capabilities in 2007."

AT&T Inc. http://www.att.com

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