T-Mobile to sell service at Family Dollar stores

Carrier taps Family Dollar stores, along with 7-Eleven, to replace the loss of RadioShack as a retail partner.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
2 min read

T-Mobile USA said today that it will begin selling its a prepaid phone and service through discount retailer Family Dollar as the carrier continues to move deeper into the prepaid business.

A Family Dollar store in South Carolina. Family Dollar

Family Dollar, which has 6,000 locations, is the next retail chain to announce a partnership with T-Mobile following 7-Eleven. Both are meant to serve as a replacement for RadioShack, which plans to stop selling T-Mobile service and switch to Verizon Wireless next month.

The demographics of the typical 7-Eleven and Family Dollar customer suggest the company is going after the low-end prepaid market, competing against the likes of Tracfone. It's a big change from T-Mobile's presence at RadioShack, where the electronics retailers sold higher end contract services.

"T-Mobile is excited to work with Family Dollar to offer an affordable prepaid device to its customers who seek value and convenience when shopping," Amy McCune, vice president of national retail for T-Mobile USA, said in a statement.

As with the 7-Eleven partnership, T-Mobile will sell its prepaid handset, the GS170 from LG Electronics, which is a basic flip cell phone that costs $30.

T-Mobile said customers can sign up for its no-contract service plan, including a $50-per-month plan with unlimited phone calls, text messages, and Internet access with 100MB of data.

Family Dollar, meanwhile, will push T-Mobile's products and other wireless offerings with displays placed at the front of stores. The retail chain will offer in-store promotions and marketing as well.

T-Mobile's recent strategy suggests the carrier has all but given up on the contract customer segment. All of its phones and plans have a no-contract option, and its recent financial results indicate that its competitive position among contract customers has weakened. In the second quarter, it lost 281,000 net contract customers but gained 231,000 net prepaid customers.

Analysts saw the loss of the RadioShack partnership as a blow to T-Mobile, but the carrier insists that it chose to end the relationship.