T-Mobile reveals plans to expand to retail stores in rural areas


During its Virtual Analyst Day event, T-Mobile revealed its plans to further its position as the 5G leader in the country. But in addition to that, the Un-Carrier announced that it is getting ready for a “significant expansion” of its “addressable markets.” 

One of its goals is to take a “multi-pronged” approach at improving subscriber numbers by making their services and products available to potential customers based in smaller markets and rural areas.

Apart from building “hundreds” of T-Mobile-branded stores over the next five years, the Un-Carrier will be partnering with Best Buy and Walmart. To be more specific, the two retail giants will be carrying T-Mobile’s products soon. 

Almost 1,000 (each) Walmart and Best Buy stores situated in rural America will be selling these products, including its prepaid brand, Metro by T-Mobile. 

In addition to offering its prepaid products in retail stores, T-Mobile plans to open close to 500 new Metro by T-Mobile brick and mortar stores and “multi-carrier” stores before the end of 2021. These multi-carrier stores will carry brands owned by T-Mobile, including T-Mobile, Sprint, and Metro by T-Mobile. This is their aggressive strategy to “reach new consumers” who would be interested in their products and services. 

According to a report, there are already four existing T-Mobile stores situated in rural areas that are being referred to as trial stores since these will carry Metro systems. 

Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with this move by T-Mobile. The NWIDA has since been critical about T-Mobile’s strategy, which suggests that they are eliminating independent Metro stores. As of this writing, the group has been speaking with the FTC and lawyers. 


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  • JG

    These multi-carrier stores will carry brands owned by T-Mobile, including T-Mobile, Sprint, and Metro by T-Mobile.

    Sprint is still a thing? Is there a reason to keep the Sprint name rather than folding them into the T-Mobile title?

    • Shaun Michalak

      I do not think that came from the company, but the person who put the article up.. I looked down the info from the sites that they mentioned, and none of them stated Sprint in the way that it was mentioned here.. If anything, they said things like “legacy Sprint customers”, but no mention of carrying branded things with the Sprint name or logo on them.. Just another error in the news article on here with inaccuracies and lack of self checking would be my opinion. From everything I have seen, they have already been folded into T-Mobile, so they are not a thing anymore..

    • marque2

      Best buy has a long term deal with Sprint that Tmobile has to honor. At the moment they still say Sprint at Best Buy locations

  • Glenn Gore

    Someone please refresh my memory, but are there any existing Best Buy stores in rural America? There sure aren’t any in my state, this is too funny.

    Getting into Walmart will have a lot more effect. Walmarts are usually located in cities of 15,000+ which places them few and far between in some parts of the country, but the people in those areas are quite used to driving 50-75 miles for a Walmart shopping roadtrip.

    • Shaun Michalak

      I have never seen a Best Buy outside of a main city.. As for Walmart, there is one in Corry, PA, and their population there is 6,605 according to online. So that is significantly lower then 15k people. But I think that is the turning point.. anything lower and i highly doubt it.. I also think it depends on how far off the beaten path you are, and how easy it is to get to the location for them, and their trucks, to restock the stores, as to if they put one up there.

      • Glenn Gore

        I just think it is absolutely hilarious that they consider Best Buy to be a “rural retailer”.

        Around here, there are no Walmart stores in any city less than 15,000. Different standards for different areas I guess. Cities and towns with less than 15,000 and all the way down to 700 people are loaded up with Family Dollar, Dollar General, et al

        • Shaun Michalak

          I agree about Best Buy.. I found that funny too.. But then again, I found it funny that they stated that they are working with Walmart to put their stuff in the stores, when in fact, a few years ago, they did have them in their stores.. But do not now.. So both are kind of funny.. Hey, lets take them out of the stores so we can work with them to put them back in?? Heck, a few years ago, I could even buy T-Mobile stuff even online, but now, not even a listing.. I find both funny.

        • warmon6

          I does make one wonder how walmart determines where to put a store at. City population, Region population, etc..

          When I was living in West Virginia, the town that Walmart was in only had about 5k people. (Charles Town, WV).

          Although it was the only walmart in the county… So it served way more people than the city alone (53K people total for the county but im sure some people were closer to other walmarts than this one.)

          Now living in Norfolk, VA, there’s 4 walmarts within the city but only 2 of them are super centers. The other 2 are stripped down grocery stores “neighborhood walmart”. With a population of 240k (ish) people, that about 60K people per store…

          (make me think they target around that 50K people per store mark at a minimum within a set distance…)

        • Shaun Michalak

          I think it also has to do with ease of access to get there.. They probably want things that are not too far off of main highways.. For example, if you have to travel, hours down a 2 lane (1 lane each way) state road to get there, then they probably do not want to be bothered because you are too far off of the beaten path to get supplies to.. and keep the store stocked.

    • Joseph McCovery

      Getting into Walmart will have a lot more effect. Walmarts are usually
      located in cities of 15,000+ which places them few and far between in
      some parts of the country, but the people in those areas are quite used
      to driving 50-75 miles for a Walmart shopping roadtrip.

      Huh, that’s something, as the two closest Supercenters within 10 miles of me (NW of Birmingham) are both in cities/towns with populations less than 5,000; of course, they’re part of the Birmingham/Jefferson metro.

      Doesn’t help that 144 Walmart stores exist in this state of less than 5,000,000 people.

    • Logan Roy

      Looking at the store directory for Oklahoma, there is one in Stillwater (where Oklahoma State University is), it isn’t rural itself if 15K is your limit for that, but it would serve a lot of rural places more readily than driving to Oklahoma City or Tulsa. There seem to be a lot of these rural adjacent locations on the outlying edges of cities.

      • Glenn Gore

        The thing is that Best Buy is not a rural retailer. Not like Dollar General or Family Dollar, etc who do locate stores in very small towns. It is a destination retailer that folks go to when they go to the big city. I do realize that to those who live in big cities, Best Buy is just another store like Joe’s Gas & Bait Shop, but outside of those big cities, the world is completely different, and I am sure that this is big news to those who never leave the big city. Or to those who only hop from big city to big city via a plane, never experiencing the joy and adventure that is a road-trip and realizing that there actually are lots of people who do not choose to live in those big cities and that there is a demand from those folks for cellphone service.

        Walmart on the other hand, is a rural retailer with dozens of locations all across all the states, much closer to those folks who live in rural areas and small towns. I bought my T-Mobile phone at a T-Mobile store in a shopping mall in Oklahoma City when I was there for a weekend, because here are not and never have been any T-Mobile stores or stores who sold T-Mobile phones and service in the western half of the state where I live, so getting them into Walmarts will be a great way to sign up new customers without having to build and staff stand-alone stores. T-Mobile now blankets this area with coverage, so they might as well have someone selling their service since it is such a great value and good service. They are the only carrier who offers 5G and will be for quite some time, so sell it.

  • Shaun Michalak

    We are working with Walmart.. Ironic how I remember years ago, Walmart did have T-Mobile phones.. I know because I bought mine from Walmart when I was going straight through T-Mobile, because the same exact phones were significantly cheaper through walmart, then they were through T-Mobile.. So, I would just go across the street and buy them.. Now, I can not find anything T-Mobile on Walmarts site..

    • marque2

      When they got rid of the Tmobile phones, they created a joint venture with Tmobile for their StraitTalk (I believe it was called) prepaid plans. Not sure if this venture worked out well for Walmart / Tmobile, but it did not help with getting Tmobile phones in rural areas.

      • dcmanryan

        Straight Talk started out as AT&T or T-Mobile then later added Verizon. Walmart has their own service now called Walmart Family Mobile which does use T-Mobile. Straight Talk was sold only online or Walmart before Walmart went with their own MVNO so there was some kind of kickback to Walmart from Straight Talk I’m guessing.

      • Shaun Michalak

        I know right now, Straight talk, you can get any carrier you like.. Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile.. You chose the sim to go with that service. But I do not see why they would drop T-Mobile prepaid for Straight talk, which is a competitor that only some people use their towers??

        Now I do know that they started up Walmart Family, which uses T-Mobile towers.. But the problem with going with that is the fact that first, they were selling both together for years before they dropped the T-Mobile stuff. and second, that was not a full substitute because the last I checked, Walmart family only used T-Mobile towers, where T-Mobile plans allowed you to use T-Mobile or AT&T towers.. and even still, leaving just walmart family was a really bad idea for a couple of reasons.

        The first would be, lack of customer service.. Every person that I had talked with that had walmart family plans, at that time, did not have a single good thing to say about their customer service. Second, they are losing money because they are letting Walmart take a chunk of their profits. Not to mention the poor customer service made T-Mobile look bad since it was their towers that they used.

        But maybe it was a thing where they did both for a while, and then slowly phased the T-Mobile part out over a couple of years?? Either way, I do know that the Walmart family phones were just T-Mobile phones that were put in a Walmart box, but the phones were still 100% left branded as T-Mobile.. I bought some back then because they were cheaper then the T-Mobile version of the same phone, even though they were the same phone.