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AT&T Survey Finds Wireless Technologies Crucial to Survival for Nearly Two-Thirds of Small Business Owners

Smartphones, Wi-Fi Hotspots and Laptop Data Cards Growing in Importance for Small Businesses Wanting to Stay Connected While on the Go. Businesses in Atlanta, Oklahoma Rank Highest in 'Wireless Quotient' Or 'WiQ.' Dallas, Texas, March 16, 2010 --  Wireless technologies are becoming increasingly crucial to survival for today's small businesses, who are wanting to stay competitive and connected while gaining flexibility and time away from the office, according to the AT&T Small Business Technology Poll, a national survey recently conducted by AT&T*.

In fact, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of small businesses surveyed said they could not survive - or it would be a major challenge to survive - without wireless technology. This is up dramatically from a similar 2007 AT&T survey in which only about four in 10 (42 percent) of small businesses said they would have difficulty surviving without wireless technologies.

Despite the economic recession, very few small businesses have cut back on their use of wireless technology. Even businesses that reduced or maintained their overall technology budget from 2008 - nearly 80 percent of small businesses surveyed - have not cut back on their use of wireless technologies and expect to rely more on wireless technology over the next two years, indicating its growing importance among small businesses.

"Wireless technology is a critical business tool that allows mobile workers to stay in touch with colleagues and customers, and to access company data on the move," said Timothy Doherty, associate research analyst for SMB Mobility, IDC. "Reliance on wireless technology will only increase, as growing adoption of mobile business applications among small businesses drives the need for fast, reliable connectivity."

The AT&T survey further found that small businesses appear to be cautiously responding to a turnaround in the economy. About two-thirds (65 percent) of businesses plan on spending more or about the same on technology overall, including wireless solutions, in 2010 as they did in 2009.

The growing dependence on wireless technologies is likely to continue to increase going forward, as about three-fourths (74 percent) of survey respondents said they expect to depend on it even more two years from now. In addition, more than three times as many small businesses today strongly agree that wireless technology is key to keeping them competitive -49 percent vs. 16 percent in 2007.

"In the current economic environment, small businesses are stretched more than ever before, so they're demanding wireless technology solutions from providers like AT&T who understand their needs," said Ebrahim Keshavarz, vice president of Small Business Product Management. "The good news is that they have more and better options today for staying connected - smartphones, Wi-Fi hotspots, laptop data cards or other technologies - whether they're meeting with customers, partners or colleagues while away from the office or simply staying in touch with their place of business while on the road."

Regional Variations
Not surprisingly, depending on where they're located, small businesses have varying opinions on the importance and use of wireless technology. Based on responses to three components - perceived importance of wireless, use of wireless technology and attitude on the impact of wireless technology - a Wireless Quotient, or "WiQ," was calculated for each of 10 markets surveyed. Each component was weighted in the rankings. For example, use of wireless technology was viewed as more important than the perceived importance of that technology. Rankings for the 10 markets follow:

  1. Atlanta
  2. Oklahoma
  3. Dallas
  4. San Francisco
  5. Kansas City
  6. San Diego
  7. Nashville
  8. Chicago
  9. Detroit
  10. Connecticut
"Small businesses that understand the value of wireless technologies and are able to maximize the benefits they offer can create competitive advantage in the marketplace," said Jeff Kagan, an independent wireless and telecom industry analyst. "While the concept of WiQ may not completely define which businesses succeed and those that don't, it can serve as a 'barometer' of the potential impact on the bottom line."

Small businesses looking to find information about AT&T wireless and wired solutions can visit www.att.com/SmallBusiness. For free business resources such as webinars, white papers, training, case studies and best practices, they can visit www.att.com/SmallBusinessInSite.

Additionally, real-time information can be found on the AT&T Small Business Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ATTSmallBiz) and Twitter channel (www.twitter.com/smallbizInSite).

Study Methodology
The results are based on an online survey of 2,023 small business owners and/or employees responsible for Information Technology (IT). Specifically, 1,009 surveys were completed by small businesses located throughout the United States (National data) and 1,014 surveys were completed with small businesses located in 10 markets - 100 in each market (Market data). The sample of participating companies was drawn from e-Rewards' online business panel of companies. Small businesses were defined as having between 2 and 50 employees, both part-time and full-time. Eight of the 10 metropolitan areas are based on DMAs (Designated Market Areas). The other two markets are the states of Connecticut and Oklahoma. The online survey was fielded from November 18 - 23, 2009.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates, AT&T operating companies, are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. Among their offerings are the world's most advanced IP-based business communications services, the nation's fastest 3G network and the best wireless coverage worldwide, and the nation's leading high speed Internet access and voice services. In domestic markets, AT&T is known for the directory publishing and advertising sales leadership of its Yellow Pages and YELLOWPAGES.COM organizations, and the AT&T brand is licensed to innovators in such fields as communications equipment. As part of their three-screen integration strategy, AT&T operating companies are expanding their TV entertainment offerings. In 2009, AT&T again ranked No. 1 in the telecommunications industry on FORTUNE® magazine's list of the World's Most Admired Companies. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at http://www.att.com.

© 2010 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the AT&T logo and all other marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies.

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