Sprint to partner with Dixons Carphone to open 500 retail stores

Sprint (NYSE: S) said it will team with British consumer electronics retailer Dixons Carphone to open and operate as many as 500 Sprint-branded stores across the country, building on a pilot program the companies launched last year.

The companies unveiled a joint venture in which each will put up half the costs and each will have a 50 percent stake. Dixons Carphone formerly partnered with Best Buy to launch Best Buy Mobile and the Geek Squad program.

Sprint said last summer it would work with Dixons Carphone to build and operate roughly 20 new Sprint stores in select U.S. markets. At the time, the carrier said it was selling its offerings at 4,500 retail locations across the country thanks largely to its partnership with RadioShack, which was once a major retailer of wireless products and services in the U.S.

Both Sprint and T-Mobile are investing heavily to build out their retail presence in an effort to better compete with Verizon and AT&T, the two largest U.S. operators. The carriers hope to lure new customers by building out their networks in suburban and rural areas and opening stores in those markets to sell their offerings and provide customer service.

"Sprint is making tremendous strides in transforming their business, and we are excited to play an even greater role in enhancing their retail experience," said Andrew Harrison, Dixons Carphone's deputy group chief executive. "The joint venture represents an important next step in Dixons' expansion into the U.S. market, and I'm confident that together we will deliver a best-in-class retail experience for Sprint customers."

Walmart reportedly stopped stocking Sprint's postpaid handsets in many of its stores late last year, although it isn't clear whether that decision was made by the retailer or by the carrier. Sprint insisted that its presence in Walmart locations hadn't changed, however.

For more:
- see this Sprint press release

Related articles:
Sprint's phones disappear from Walmart as the holidays loom
Sprint resurrects two-year wireless service contracts to give customers more choices
Sprint brags of 4,500 retail stores, strikes deal with Dixons Carphone for U.S. pilot project

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