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Circuit City Connects With Verizon And Kiosks

Circuit City has begun a rollout of in-store, self-service kiosks that will allow customers to activate newly purchased Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile phones online.

The move is an extension of a self-serve concept launched two years ago for broadband Internet access. It also marks the return to the chain of No. 1 wireless carrier Verizon — which is supplanting Cingular, AT&T and Sprint — and the expansion of T-Mobile service to all stores within the provider’s coverage areas.

Circuit City had previously provided wireless activation upon request, but the Internet-linked kiosks are designed to speed up and simplify the process. The kiosks are already in place in 30 select stores with redesigned wireless departments, but will be rolled out to all Circuit City locations by September. The revamped wireless sections, which are part of a planned 200-store refixturing effort, are being moved to the front of stores and will feature PDAs and accessories.

Circuit City last offered Verizon service five years ago. The changeover began with the phase-out of Cingular, and will extend to AT&T by the end of July and to Sprint by Sept. 4.