It has been an interesting week in the carrier news sphere. The headline which really caught people’s imagination was the rumor that Sprint was thinking about possibly buying a load of Radio Shack outlets. Of course, there was also the suggestion that they might be thinking of going into partnership with Radio Shack as some sort of joint-venture. But that was more ludicrous than the idea of them buying all the stores.
Or so we thought. All the mystery disappeared and we found out that Sprint is indeed entering a strange partnership with Radio Shack. To sum up, Sprint announced that the two companies would join forces and combine their goods under one roof in 1750 Radio Shack stores nationwide. According to the understanding, the stores will continue to effectively operate as Radio Shack stores, selling Radio Shack products but one-third of the store will be a microcosm for Sprint. A Sprint store within a Radio Shack store. Kinda like how there always used to be a McDonalds inside a Walmart.
So what’s in for Sprint? Well, they will effectively gain an outlet in 1750 more locations. Bearing in mind, that Sprint currently only operate from 1100 locations, this in effect (almost) triples their physical on-street exposure. The very fact that they have bought into 1750 locations that no one ever visits, does not seem to worry them as much as it should. Of course, there is the added benefit of Sprint not only promoting their Sprint products in 1750 ghost town shops but also the ability to promote Boost and Virgin Mobile too. These are both MVNOs owned by Sprint and in all reality are what is likely to be the real driving force behind this coalition.
So what’s in it for Radio Shack? Well, this one will be a shorter paragraph. With the much-needed revenue that is being presumably pumped in by Sprint, gives the shareholders of Radio Shack a glimmer of hope of not completely going into liquidation. Radio Shack was in serious trouble and were in the process of filing for bankruptcy. So this merger (of sorts) will give the company some breathing room. Of course, this is all dependent on whether the deal proposed is approved by the bankruptcy hearing.
So what should we expect from our newly formed ‘Sprint Shacks’? Well, the truth is, probably not very much. If you are already a sprint customer, then chances are you will have a few more locations that you can visit. Although from Sprint’s perspective, no win there as they already have you. For non-Sprint customers then presumably you now have even more of a reason to avoid going to a Radio Shack. Either way though, if you do find yourself in a Sprint Shack in the near future, at least you will be able to pick up an overpriced cable to go with your call plan you do not intend to buy. What this deal is unlikely to do is bring a solution to either Radio Shack’s or Sprint’s long term problems, which ironically are the same – attracting new customers. That said, the two do seem to have some commonalities in the fact that they are both limited in their scope, reach and by the looks of it, vision. So yes, to answer the question, as Sprint is only entitled to a third of the floor space, it would seem you can fit three Sprint’s in a Radio Shack.