T-Mobile USA Inc. has authorized and opened nearly 100 T-Mobile limited shops since announcing the exclusive retailer model for dealers in third quarter 2008, according to a spokesperson for the company.
A T-Mobile limited store is not a franchise (there are no fees or royalties to be paid), but combines T-Mobile’s branding and marketing with the customer experience possible through a dealer who has a stake in the outcome.
According to the T-Mobile Web site, limited retailer candidates need not have wireless experience, but must have several years of retail experience, customer service excellence, and a commitment to executing the T-Mobile “brand promise.”
“T-Mobile is opening the door to non-traditional retailers and appears to have a program in place to get them up and running,” said Mark Landiak, executive director of the Wireless Business Owners Consortium (WiBOC). “This is a positive thing for businesses considering a move into wireless. “
That said, Landiak cautions that getting into the wireless business is not simple. “ Non-wireless businesses that ‘try’ wireless often fail at the front end because it is a much more complex game today. Five to 10 years ago, wireless was red hot and virtually everyone in the game was making money. Today it takes careful planning, consistently solid execution and a strong business partner (carrier or master agent) to help you identify the areas where you need the most help and provide expertise and resources to fill that gap.”
T-Mobile is providing a significant support structure to the limited retailers, including “training, direct access to T-Mobile resources, ongoing support from T-Mobile account representatives and guidance on all promotional materials and local advertising campaigns,” the spokesperson said.
Compensation models were not disclosed.
Qualified candidates will interview with key T-Mobile personnel and complete necessary training and certification. Training includes Internet-based, self-paced product and sales courses. In addition, T-Mobile provides in-store training and ongoing on-site support.
The information site also explained that a Web-based activations and account management system is licensed to each T-Mobile limited retailer. Inventory ordering systems and communication systems also are Web-based.
T-Mobile also offers financial assistance to qualified retailers during startup operations and for startup inventory needs.
T-mobile limited retailers carry the full product line, including the new T-Mobile Wi-Fi Calling for Businesses, an enterprise solution that allows business customers and their employees to make unlimited nationwide calls over Wi-Fi for $10 per month. Additionally, businesses with more than 100 lines of voice and data service on T-Mobile BlackBerry devices get free Wi-Fi calling nationwide and from abroad to the United States.
Business customers get unlimited calling over Wi-Fi at work, home, T-Mobile HotSpot locations or any open Wi-Fi hot spot.. When customers exit a hot spot, their calls seamlessly transfer onto T-Mobile’s cellular network.
The T-Mobile limited stores are in addition to more than 1,700 company-owned stories. According to the spokesperson, stores are opened in a “complementary fashion,” presumably to avoid over-saturating markets.