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Best Buy Completes Mobile Rollout Effort

Minneapolis — All 965 U.S. Best Buy locations now feature a Best Buy Mobile store-within-a-store thanks to a nationwide rollout effort that began in October 2006 and was completed this week.

The sections, designed to sell carrier plans along with handsets and accessories, have been modeled after the company’s 15 stand-alone stores that focus solely on mobile technology.

“Customers let us know quickly that they dreaded shipping for a mobile phone anywhere in the United States, whether with us or anyone else. Wireless customers are asking for more choice and more attention to their individual needs, and our new concept provides that,” said Shawn Score, president, Best Buy Mobile. “Where the new experience has been available, our customer satisfaction scores are through the roof — a direct result of the dedication and cooperation of thousands of employees and in our stores and our corporate office to develop this unique and exciting set of customer choices and experiences.”

Best Buy Mobile began in 2006 as part of a joint venture with U.K. mobile retailer CarPhone Warehouse. In May, Best Buy acquired a 50 percent stake in CarPhone Warehouse’s European retail operations as part of a new agreement to partner and expand both brands throughout Europe.

Best Buy Mobile’s product selection and services includes more than 90 different handsets from nine carriers along with a wide array of accessories. According to the company, Mobile employees, hired exclusively for the wireless unit, undergo at least 80 hours of training, as well as continuing education on mobile phone technology and trends. The company said its recent rollout effort included more than 250,000 hours of employee training, based largely on CarPhone Warehouse’s U.K. training programs.

“As the networks and the handsets become more capable of doing many different things, mobile customers want more help in making them work, and they are becoming more discriminating about the way the handsets look and how they function,” Score said. “They want to know that as change continues, they can go back to the store and get help and advice. That is part of our promise to them.”