3 UK has announced the launch of a new small-business mobile proposition called Three Means Business. The multi-brand, multi-product offering is part of a strategy for the operator to expand its customer base.
Three Means Business includes 12 or 24-month contracts targeting entrepreneurs and small businesses, as well as partnerships to offer customers free subscriptions and discounts on website building, accountancy, business cards and co-working spaces.
Partners include Wix, which brings a six-month free subscription to a website-building and logo-creator package; FreshBooks, offering a six-month free subscription to an accountancy package; WeWork, with a six-month free digital membership and two credits a month for workspace; and MOO, which gives 25 percent off business cards and other office products.
The package includes unlimited data bundles, free roaming in over 70 destinations and the Go Binge offer (unlimited use of apps such as Netflix, Apple Music, Soundcloud and Snapchat. A SIM-only business tariff starts from £9.00 (US $11.79) per month for 2 GB of data. For contract handset plans, customers can choose from a range of a devices, with prices starting from £41.00 (US $53.70) on a 24-month contract.
As we have written recently, SMEs are a lively and growing market sector for mobile operators that should be targeted as much as possible. They have special needs that are quite different from those of large enterprises on the one hand and of private consumers on the other hand.
Most small-business offerings focus on the typical features of mobile tariffs, that is to say, on traditional mobile services, packaged and priced in ways that are judged particularly appropriate to SMEs. Of course, that is an essential precondition to cultivating the business of small companies. However, there is more that operators can do, and we feel that this offering from 3 UK is a step in the right direction.
Due to their relatively small size and budget constraints, SMEs may face challenges in obtaining all the ancillary services that businesses need, such as office infrastructure, website design, accountancy, and so forth. In this offering, the operator has partnered with a number of companies that provide these services, so that subscribers can get those services free for six months. In addition, the packaged convenience of the services, in which they are provided through the operator, makes it easier and more seamless from the standpoint of the small-business client.
It should be noted that many of the free offerings included in Three Means Business are particularly appropriate for businesses just getting off the ground. The six-month duration of the free services may dovetail nicely with the period in which the SME is establishing itself. The inclusion of Go Binge in interesting in that it seems more appropriate for a consumer offer than a business offer; perhaps this speaks to the increasingly porous divide between businesses and consumers in the era of mass small-scale entrepreneurship and home-based businesses.