By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Portland, Ore. — MVNO Consumer Cellular, which targets the 50-plus age group with no-contract postpaid service, is expanding its selection in 739 Sears stores beginning in January.
The expansion includes new two new phones, expanded color options for two phones and new accessory kits, the MVNO said.
The product expansion is the MVNO’s third expansion in Sears stores in a little more than a year, the MVNO said.
The Huawei 8800 replaces a messaging phone in the Sears selection and brings the selection of Consumer Cellular smartphones at Sears to two models. The 8800 features 800MHz processor and 5-megapixel camera with LED flash.
The Doro PhoneEasy 618 is a senior-friendly 3G phone that represents an upgrade from its predecessor, adding such new features as 3.2-megapixel camera and external caller ID screen. Like its predecessor, the Doro 618 features large separated buttons, adjustable text size and contrast, and a soft-touch coating for better grip.
Although the number of phone models remains constant at four, Sears will now offer two models in a choice of color selections. The Doro 618 will be offered in burgundy and black within Sears stores as well as in silver on Sears.com. And the current $34 Motorola WX416 is now available in both red and black with 1.8-inch display, 2-megapixel camera, MP3 player and FM radio.
New accessory kits accompanying the additional phone offerings will round out the expansion, and the kits will appear on Sears’s own cellphone accessory wall, having previously been on display in the stores’ Consumer Cellular display.
A total of five accessory packages will be available. Each phone has its own leather case and charger pack, but the Huawei 8800 will also get the option of snap-on case and charger pack.
Consumer Cellular wireless plans start as low as $10/month and feature no contracts or activation fees, usage alerts to notify customers before they exceed their monthly data or voice allotment, no roaming or long-distance charges, and monthly postpaid billing.
Consumer Cellular’s wireless phones and plans are sold nationwide at leading retailers such as Sears and RadioShack dealer franchise locations, as well as direct to consumers at ConsumerCellular.com and (800) 686-4460.
Consumer Cellular offers only postpaid no-contract plans to appeal to older consumers who have good credit but don’t like contracts.
The company, which resells AT&T service, launched in 1995 as a direct-to-consumer marketer, but the MVNO began heading into retail in 2010 to reach consumers who prefer to buy in stores.
When it launched in the mid-1990s, the privately held company targeted what were then known as cellular “convenience users” in a market dominated by business users and wealthy consumers. A few years later, Consumer Cellular shifted its focus to target the 50-plus demographic with products and services appealing to low-usage consumers who are not early adopters.
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