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T-Mobile and Apple to sell small-business connectivity plan

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Apple Inc. reports fourth quarter earnings in Washington

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) - T-Mobile US Inc said on Thursday it was working with Apple Inc to offer a mobile phone plan that will include subsidized iPhones and a suite of paid services from Apple aimed at small-business owners.

The deal will help Apple with distribution of Business Essentials, a paid service it started last year for businesses with small or non-existent IT departments who still need to manage fleets of iPhones and other Apple devices for their workers. The Apple service, which ranges between $2.99 and $12.99 per month per employee, lets a businesses install and update apps and provide cloud storage to employees.

Under the new T-Mobile plan, which the carrier said is available immediately, T-Mobile will cover the cost of an iPhone 13 for each of a business's employees and will bundle Business Essentials together with T-Mobile's wireless service. The cost may be as low as $50 per month when a company has six lines or more on the plan.

T-Mobile said the plan also includes Wi-Fi coverage on flights from American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Alaska Airlines, with United Airlines coming later this year.

"We built a plan around Apple Business Essentials that gives small businesses everything that they're going to need to keep their employees connected," Callie Field, president of T-Mobile's business group, said in an interview.

The T-Mobile plan also includes AppleCare+, Apple's insurance program that covers repairs or replacement for damaged devices.

T-Mobile is handling all customer billing under the new deal, and the two companies declined say how much of the $50 monthly fee T-Mobile will pass on to Apple.

Susan Prescott, Apple's vice president of enterprise product marketing, told Reuters the iPhone maker's goal was to offer a business plan that would streamline the process of buying and setting up devices.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; editing by Richard Pullin)