T-Mobile may be a distant fourth in the wireless carrier race, but it’s scrappy. Bouncing back after its proposed acquisition by AT&T crumbled, T-Mobile is aggressively courting small business customers with a variety of services.
For starters, T-Mobile is the first of the wireless providers to start offering the Square credit card reader in its stores. The reader can be acquired for free directly from Square, but T-Mobile is helping small business customers expand their payment options and get paid faster by giving customers even easier access to it.
According to figures cited in the T-Mobile press release, consumers have a combined total 800 million credit cards between them, but 95 percent of small businesses are not equipped to accept credit card payments. For most, setting up a credit card merchant account is too complex, too costly, or both. But, accepting credit cards doesn’t get any easier than with Square.
I recently went to a local farmer’s market near my home outside of Houston. Although I was shopping at folding tables set up under tents in the middle of a parking lot, the majority of the vendors were able to accept credit card payments because they all had Square. The ones that were cash only, or the one that literally wrote all credit card info—including the three digit verification code from the back of the card—on a piece of paper to process later when they got back to the office were much less likely to get my business.
Square is just the beginning of what T-Mobile has to offer small business customers. Some devices, like the HTC Amaze 4G and Samsung Galaxy S II, come pre-loaded with the T-Mobile 4GPro App Pack. The App Pack is a collection of crucial business tools like DropBox, Evernote, Square, TripIt, and LinkedIn. Again, most of these apps are available for free, but T-Mobile is taking the guesswork out of the equation and equipping small business customers with the right tools by default.
T-Mobile offers multi-line, pooled plans for small businesses. It also has an equipment trade in program that allows customers to trade unused mobile devices to offset the cost of acquiring new equipment, and it offers an Equipment Installment Plan (EIP) that enables customers to defer costs over an 18-month period.
To top it all off, T-Mobile is rolling out a new store format for its nearly 400 retail locations to improve the wireless shopping experience. For small business customers, the new T-Mobile layout includes areas to sit down with T-Mobile consultants for a mor in-depth analysis of your wireless needs and how to meet them.
Matt Millen, vice president of small and medium business sales at T-Mobile, sums it up well. “The success of our small business customers is important to us.”