Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is hoping to strengthen its bond with its small to medium business (SMB) customers that enrolled in the telco's Small Biz Rewards loyalty program by launching a "Give and Give Back" Holiday Sweepstakes that will award $5,000 to a business and their favorite charity.
Running through Dec. 31, Verizon's SMB customers can visit the Small Biz Rewards website to join the program for free and enter the sweepstakes, which will award a grand-prize winner $5,000 on a reloadable Prepaid MasterCard.
In addition, businesses that enter the sweepstakes can click to support one of these three charities: Juvenile Diabetes Research, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The service provider said that it would donate a total of $15,000 to these three charities with the amount of the individual awards in proportion to the number of times each charity is selected by a Small Biz Rewards member.
This sweepstakes comes at a time when Verizon is fighting back against cable's encroachment into its well-established SMB market.
The service provider recently extended its free upgrade of FiOS Internet service to symmetrical speeds to small businesses via its SpeedMatch program. As of the end of the third quarter, Verizon said it had upgraded almost 5 million FiOS users to the symmetrical SpeedMatch program. Symmetrical speeds will continue to be a differentiator against cable, whose current DOCSIS infrastructure is limited in the upstream direction.
While this method will give Verizon the upper hand in markets where it has FiOS, it continues to see challenges where it only offers DSL service. Cable has been taking market share in markets where Verizon does not offer FiOS services today. As a result, SMB service revenues were $613 million, down from $639 million.
Using their existing HFC-based networks, cable operators have been aggressively pursuing small businesses with bundles of data, phone and video.
For example, Comcast Business (NASDAQ: CMCSA) currently offers two triple play tiers: Starter for $94.85 a month with 16/3 Mbps of data, 35 TV channels and one phone line, while Deluxe 150 comes with 50/10 Mbps, 35 channels of TV and two business phone lines.
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