Pros and Cons: Third Party Service Providers
People love their smartphones, and people love saving money. Two-year contracts are binding and people often can’t afford to buy an iPhone or Galaxy S4 outright at full cost. A way people save money on cell phone plans is by switching to an alternative third-party service provider. Third-party cellular service providers use the same cell towers as other carriers while offering cellular services at discounted prices, which attracts people looking to save money on the devices they love. If you own a repair shop, offering a third-party cellular service can increase foot traffic to your business, which in turn lets people know what you have to offer.
I recently spoke with Andrew Van Beek of Ames iPhone Repair, who knows all the ins and outs of offering third party cellular services. He began offering Page Plus cellular service and since then he’s expanded his business to offer Spot Mobile, H2O, PrePayd, and Selectel. He’s noticed an increase in business since offering these services and though it’s a lot of work, he believes it can dramatically increase a repair shop’s business.
“The prepaid cell phone service part of the business has increased business despite the fact that my business is home based and sees little foot traffic. When people come in to my place of business to get their phone fixed, and see the marketing materials, they ask questions about it and many are sold on the idea of switching to a prepaid carrier after their contract has expired. I have had many people calling me asking me about the service because of the dealer locator tool on the company websites. Offering prepaid cellphone service will definitely increase foot traffic in a retail location.”
So you advertise the service, attract customers to your store…and then what? There’s more to it than what meets the eye. It may sound easy offering cellular service through a third party provider, but Andrew has found it takes a lot of work and can at times be challenging.
“Running the prepaid cellular service part of my business has been challenging. In order to keep up with competition, the plans and pricing that each carrier offers is constantly changing and a dealer must stay on top of it. Furthermore, a dealer must be able to provide technical support and troubleshoot customer issues. That takes a lot of work. However, if one carefully selects which companies to carry, that workload is considerably less.”
There are scores of options for third party service providers. Most third party service providers don’t require any dealer startup fees, and some will even set you up with a starter kit full of introductory marketing materials and/or SIM cards. Every third party provider is different and the benefits are different as well.
It’s good to know the basic differences between GSM and CDMA technologies so you have an idea of coverage areas and roaming to best serve customers in your area. Third-party service brings customers in, and your service keeps them coming back. Here’s a look at some third-party cellular services you should be offering!
One of Andrew’s biggest sellers on the GSM market, H2O Wireless offers nationwide coverage and a large number of service options. It’s simple for dealers to sign up and offers an easy-to-use dealer portal with built-in online support. Keep in mind H2O Wireless lacks 4G LTE capabilities and offers few free introductory marketing materials. Learn more about becoming an authorized dealer of H2O Wireless.
Offering landlines and wireless plans with no contract, Selectel Wireless is one of the cheapest options for customers looking for a good deal. They offer nationwide coverage on one of the largest CDMA networks. Selectel Wireless offers great dealer support and great dealer rates on PINs but unfortunately doesn’t offer 4G LTE devices. Learn more about becoming a Selectel Wireless dealer.
All you need is a storefront to sign up as an authorized dealer at Page Plus Cellular, and the rest is easy. Page Plus offers good dealer rates and rewards, introductory marketing materials, and an easy to use dealer portal. Page Plus doesn’t offer 4G LTE services and was recently bought out by Tracfone, which may lead to service changes in the future. Learn more about becoming a Page Plus authorized dealer.
Simple Mobile makes choosing a cell plan easy. They have a large selection of cellular options for customers to choose from, and since Simple Mobile is a Tracfone company they offer coverage on some GSM towers across the country. Learn more about becoming a Simple Mobile authorized dealer.
Thanks again to Andrew Van Beek of Ames iPhone Repair for helping us get a better look at third-party service providers from the dealer’s point-of-view. His final advice for any soon-to-be dealers? Don’t offer too many cellular services at your repair shop. “Become an expert in maybe two or three. Stick with the companies that do not change much and only change for the better.” Thanks, Andrew!