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SBC, Yahoo target small business

The two companies join forces to offer a suite of services, built on their DSL efforts, designed specifically for small and home-based businesses.

Local telephone heavyweight SBC Communications and Internet portal Yahoo announced a suite of new services Wednesday to help small businesses establish an online presence.

The new services build on the companies? co-branded SBC Yahoo DSL service, which provides digital subscriber line access to residential and business customers. The pricing of the new SBC Yahoo Small Business service can be integrated with the existing DSL offering and its dial-up service, the company said.

The SBC Yahoo Small Business offerings comprise a Web-hosting service, targeted at small businesses and home-based companies; a merchant solution for creating, managing and marketing an online store; an e-mail service that allows for the creation of custom e-that provides tools for small-business owners to manage their online services themselves.

The companies are offering discounts of up to 20 percent to customers who combine SBC Yahoo Small Business services with qualifying SBC Yahoo DSL or Dial services. For customers who combine the hosting service with the DSL or dial-up service mail accounts; and an updated SBC Yahoo Small Business Home Page and a qualifying SBC voice plan, the discount can be as much as 30 percent.

Since the companies launched SBC Yahoo DSL in September 2002, the co-branded service has shown solid growth. During the September quarter last year, SBC said it added 365,000 new DSL subscribers, more than any other regional Bell company. The carrier now has over 3.1 million customers.

SBC attributes much of the DSL subscriber growth to price discounts and service bundling. In September, SBC and Yahoo began offering DSL for $26.95 a month for one year. Earlier this month, the

SBC first started introducing discounts specifically for the small businesses in March of last year. Previously, bundling and discounts were perks the Baby Bell offered only to larger businesses. But as the company more aggressively targets small businesses, it hopes that deep discounts and a broad product offering will attract more customers.

The SBC Yahoo Web Hosting service costs between $8.37 a month and $39.95 a month, depending on the tools selected. SBC Yahoo Merchant Solutions, which is the e-commerce piece, is available in three plans with prices ranging from $27.97 a month to $299.95 a month. The e-commerce service includes all of the SBC Yahoo Web Hosting Premium features in addition to a slew of e-commerce related features. The SBC Yahoo Business Mail service costs between $6.97 and $9.95 per month. The SBC Yahoo Small Business Home Page, which has been updated, is a free feature with the new service.