With the Thanksgiving holiday nearly upon us – although not quite like years past – it seems only fitting to use a turkey dinner analogy when talking about new moves by Mint Mobile.
Mint Mobile, the MVNO made popular by spokesman Ryan Reynolds, doesn’t sell phones in stores but does sell SIMs. It’s been in Best Buy for a few years now, but recently moved from the kids’ table to the grown-ups’ table, according to Jeff Moore, principal of Wave7 Research, who used the table analogy to describe the situation.
For prepaid services in Best Buy stores, the set-up has basically consisted of the grown-ups’ display – where you’d traditionally find phones and brands such as Simple Mobile, Total Wireless, Tracfone and Verizon Prepaid. In a much less visible location, you’d find the SIM card sellers, such as Ultra Mobile, H2O, Freedom Pop, Mint and “just a variety of SIM players,” he said. “That’s the traditional layout at Best Buy.”
Earlier this month, Wave7 noticed, during its routine store checks, that Mint Mobile gained signage and display space at about half of the stores checked by Wave7. The research firm started noticing this shortly after the Cricket and AT&T Prepaid brands exited Best Buy.
“The MVNO has long had SIMs on one or two pegs at Best Buy, but visibility before November was very low,” the firm said. “Wave7 Research has not observed phones being sold by Mint Mobile, just SIMs.”
A film clip featuring Reynolds went live last week in which he talked about being the owner of Mint Mobile and the availability of Mint Unlimited in nearly 1,000 Best Buy stores. (He also talked about his application to the Geek Squad being rejected in the early 1990s.)
A Mint Mobile representative explained that Mint expanded its partnership with Best Buy to include three plans available in Best Buy retail. The plans are: three months for 3 Gb ($45), three months for 8 Gb ($60), and three months Unlimited ($90). Best Buy is participating in Mint’s holiday promotion and all three-month plans are buy three months, get three months for free. The retail space in-store merchandising is to draw additional attention, he said.
Ultra Mobile launched Mint Mobile, formerly Mint SIM, in 2016 as an online-only MVNO specializing in prepaid phone plans using T-Mobile’s network. Late last year, Mint Mobile started operating as its own company – Mint Mobile LLC, according to BestMVNO. In November it was announced that Reynolds had bought an ownership stake in the company.