AT&T now generates almost half of its total revenue from business customers, says Ron Spears, business services group president. For most tier one telecom, independent telcos or cable providers, that would be an eye-popping number.

Most telecom service providers, in most past years, would have earned 30 percent of total revenue from business customers, at best, though business customers That also would have represented a higher percentage of profit than that.

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Specialized providers such as business-focused competitive local exchange carriers, Interconnects, value added resellers and business-focused Internet service providers as well as managed service providers of course often make a living from business customers, which comprise all or most of their revenues.

But it is a major shift for a typical tier-one telecom company to have so much revenue coming from business and enterprise customers.

A Reuters report suggests that if 2010 AT&T total revenue (both fixed-line and mobile) comes in, as expected, at $124 billion, business users will generate around $62 billion in revenue for the year.

In 2009, the company said that fixed-line service revenue from business customers was about $40 billion out of total revenue of about $123 billion, or about 33 percent. That is a huge change in a single year.

The results confirm a trend that likely will be played out in the global business, namely that the tier one providers probably will get an increasing share of their revenue from business users, particularly enterprise customers (including wholesale and other business partners), and less revenue, over time, from consumers and small business.

Likewise, over time, more revenue generated by consumer customers is likely to shift to other providers such as cable companies or over-the-top VoIP providers, while a significant portion of small business revenue likewise will shift to specialized providers and cable companies as well.

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