T-Mobile closes in on 1,000 new stores this year

T-Mobile continues to grow its retail presence in rural and suburban markets.

T-Mobile has opened an average of nearly 14 stores per day over the last three weeks as it continues to expand into suburban and rural areas.

The carrier has opened nearly 1,000 stores so far this year, Wave7 Research noted this week, marking solid progress on its goal of launching 1,500 retail outlets this year. New stores are located in markets such as The Dalles, Oregon; Helena, Montana; and Cheyenne, which is T-Mobile’s first Wyoming location.

The market research firm said it gleaned the data from “social media checks” including the Twitter account of Jon Freier, T-Mobile’s vice president of sales. Freier tweeted Friday that the company had opened its 972nd store this year.

“In the most recent Wave7 Door Report, it was reported that T-Mobile has 2.2K corporate stores and 2.5K dealer stores, although in the case of T-Mobile, corporate and dealer stores generally have a very similar look and feel. This is not true of Verizon and AT&T,” Wave7 wrote in a note to subscribers. “Wave7 Research can report that T-Mobile has launched two new markets in recent weeks.”

T-Mobile is expanding its retail presence across the U.S. to better leverage areas in which it has built out its network. The carrier opened 400 retail outlets in the U.S. last year, CFO Braxton Carter said earlier this year, but those stores were largely in the two-thirds of the nation where it already had a brick-and-mortar presence.

CTO Neville Ray “has laid the foundation with the low-band spectrum to expand our distribution footprint to 30 to 40 million people on the magenta postpaid side,” Carter said in January. “Now what we’re doing is starting to roll out the other third of the United States.”

Meanwhile, Sprint is moving aggressively to capitalize on its deal with RadioShack, which in March declared bankruptcy for the second time. Sprint purchased 1,750 RadioShack stores in early 2015 after the company went bankrupt the first time, and several months later the operator had a presence in 1,435 of the stores.

Some of those locations are being leveraged as Sprint expands its retail footprint in markets across the United States, including 78 new stores in Southern California by the end of the year. Sprint is running 30-second radio spots and executing other campaigns to promote the new stores, Wave7 said.