Victra becomes Verizon’s largest authorized retailer

Victra, a Verizon authorized retailer, has bought Go Wireless, which brings more than 600 new stores to Victra’s portfolio.

In a LinkedIn posting, Victra CEO Rich Balot, said, “Today’s the day! After months of hard work from our team, I can finally share that we acquired Go Wireless. I’m super excited to expand our footprint and with the addition of new stores, we are now in 49 states with nearly 1,600 locations and close to 7,000 employees.”

Analyst Jeff Moore, principal of Wave7 Research, said that a company called Round Room “has been the big dog of Verizon dealers” with 1,241 stores in 43 states. Victra suddenly has 1,600 stores, making it the “new big dog of Verizon dealers.”

Besides Victra and Round Room, other top dealer companies for Verizon include Russell Cellular with about 720 locations across 43 states and Cellular Sales with nearly 800 stores across 40 states.

Wireless carriers rely on authorized dealers

Moore said all three of the big U.S. wireless carriers have both corporate retail stores as well as authorized dealer stores, and they rely heavily on those authorized dealers. According to Wave7 Research, about 80% of Verizon stores are authorized dealers; about 70% of AT&T stores are authorized dealers; and for T-Mobile that number is about 60%.

At Verizon the corporate stores tend to be in large urban areas. But for small cities and more rural areas, Verizon tends to use dealer stores.

Moore said, “As Wave7 has consistently written, all three carriers are pushing consolidation of dealers, and there has been major consolidation at all three. Top dealers are acquiring smaller dealers and getting bigger. Carriers appear to have a goal of reducing the number of dealers to make that retail channel easier to manage.”

He said Victra’s purchase of Go Wireless is “the biggest case in point that I’ve seen; I expect this trend to continue.” 

For its part, T-Mobile has done quite a lot of retail store consolidation after its purchase of Sprint.

Moore said that while he can recognize a Verizon dealer store “from a mile away,” T-Mobile takes the approach of having all its stores — whether corporate or authorized dealer — look very similar. T-Mobile just posts a small sign on the door, indicating whether a store is a dealer store. “The experience is very homogenous,” said Moore.