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AT&T Survey Finds That 42% of Small Business Owners Would Have Difficulty Surviving Without Wireless Technologies

April 23, 2009

Wireless devices are indispensable for today’s small business owners, who rely heavily on wireless technology to stay connected to their business and customers while gaining flexibility and time away from the office, according to a survey conducted by AT&T Inc.

Currently, four in ten (42 percent) of small business owners surveyed said they could not survive — or it would be a major challenge to survive — without wireless technology. This trend will likely increase because more than half (51 percent) of the respondents said they rely on wireless technology more today than two years ago, and even more (55 percent) said they expect to depend on it even more two years from now.

“Wireless technology is a critical tool that allows small business owners to stay in touch with customers, suppliers and staff while on the go,” said Carrie MacGillivray, senior analyst, Mobile Enterprise Network Services, IDC. “It is not surprising that small businesses indicate that wireless communications capabilities play a critical role in business success.”

“Small business owners are more flexible and connected than ever before, and they need telecommunications solutions built for them by people who understand their needs,” said John Regan, vice president of Small Business, AT&T. “Our survey reveals that 72 percent of today’s small business owners have come to rely on broadband, and 67 percent on wireless services. Yet only 14 percent of respondents indicated that video or television service is very important to their business.”

The increased demands of a personal life and owning a small business mirrors the concurrent growth in small business owners’ reliance on wireless technology. Of the 41 percent of respondents who said they were very likely to conduct business while away from the office, more than half (53 percent) said the success of their business depends on wireless technologies, such as mobile phones, PDAs and PC data cards. Additionally, half (49 percent) said they are optimistic about wireless technology giving their business a competitive advantage, while only 16 percent of those polled disagreed with that statement.  “This study confirms for us the idea that wireless technologies are increasingly important to small business owners, who are using those technologies more now than they did two years ago,” said Regan. “It will no doubt be interesting to see how they’re going to use new technologies in the coming years as they become more familiar with IP-based solutions and managed services for security, hosting and storage.”

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