Virgin Media Business (VMB) is set to offer mobile handsets from Apple and Samsung to SMEs that sign up to its  Voom Fibre service. Voom Fibre 3+ is a new package to help business customers stay connected. It combines a 350Mbit/s connection, a 4G mobile SIM with 32GB of mobile data and unlimited calls and texts, and a dedicated business landline with unlimited calls as standard. The service level agreement also specifies a 12-hour fault fix time.

The handsets will also be offered stand-alone on either 24 or 36 month contracts, with a choice of data allowances and no upfront costs.

Rob Orr, Executive Director of Commercial and Marketing, described this as “fantastic news” for customers. “By challenging the status quo and providing mobile connectivity and services in a more Virgin way, we will be able to give our customers new mobile offers which respond to the rapidly changing needs of their businesses,” he added.

The aim of the package is to enables SMEs to consolidate their communications with one provider (VMB) rather than having to manage multiple providers for fixed and mobile services. VMB promotes the service as being simpler to manage and cheaper for SMEs.

This is part of VMB’s drive to increase its SME business, and a first step before adding more value-added services (VAS) to the mix.

There is much to play for. 99% of UK businesses are SMEs, which together account for 60% of UK employment or a staggering 16.1 million employees, with an annual turnover of £1.9 trillion. The majority of growth in the B2B market since 2000 comes from non-employing businesses (sole traders) which account for 89% of the overall increase. SMEs account for at least 99.5% of the businesses in every main industry sector in the UK.

That said, it is a sector that is poorly understood and catered for by large B2B providers. Many self-employed and small business customers are still on consumer packages, because business packages are not designed for their needs. This means a key challenge for providers like VMB is to identify business customers in order to upsell and cross-sell services they are currently buying elsewhere. A good first step is to consolidate their communications spending, as VMB is trying to do with its Voom package.

Posted by Teresa Cottam

Teresa helps B2B service providers improve their commercial results and the customer experience they deliver through research, insight and analysis that builds effective strategy. She is a judge of the GSMA GloMo's for customer experience and enterprise innovation, and for the UK Cloud awards. You can follow her on Twitter @teresacottam

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