T-Mobile eyes nationwide expansion with new retailer program

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T-Mobile USA is working to expand its retail presence nationwide with a new retailer program the carrier hopes will add another 1,000 T-Mobile-branded retail outlets in locations across the country.

The carrier is taking its "T-Mobile Premium Retailer Program" nationwide after testing the offering on a regional basis during the past several years. The effort is intended to foster the rollout of T-Mobile-branded retail outlets by independent retailers--a move that allows T-Mobile to increase the number of its retail stores without direct, corporate investment.

"T-Mobile has a great story to tell," said Jonathan Blood, T-Mobile's national channel director for business development. "We feel like we are in a position today to drive additional retail points across the country."

Blood said T-Mobile operates more than 2,000 corporate retail outlets across the country, and has more than 500 T-Mobile-branded retail outlets during the years the carrier has been testing its Premium Retailer Program on a regional basis. Blood said T-Mobile hopes to open an additional 1,000 T-Mobile-branded retail outlets nationwide through the program during the next several years.

Under the program, T-Mobile supplies retail partners with funds for opening stores, as well as handsets, training and full access to T-Mobile's systems. Retailers must meet T-Mobile's requirements for store branding and layout, and can make commissions on activations and contract renewals as well as ongoing revenues from subscribers' monthly payments.

Blood said in most wireless retail scenarios, agents must pony up the cash to flesh out their handset inventory. In T-Mobile's new program, "We remove that subsidization risk. ... There's no cost for the inventory. We just stock them with the hottest handsets."

T-Mobile, the nation's fourth largest wireless carrier, has been working to separate itself from the competition via a range of Android phones and network upgrades. The carrier recently unveiled a new advertising campaign featuring actress and model Carly Foulkes that takes direct aim at AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone.

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