It’s decently obvious that the United States has now hit its saturation point of mobile phone dealers. Walking around the Arsenal Mall last night, I was struck with how many dealers were crammed into a small space. In one particularly hilarious fifty-foot stretch, there were two T-Mobile vendors as well as an actual T-Mobile store, and likewise, there were three or four AT&T dealers, a Nextel booth, and two Cingular shops. Not a single one of the booths had a customer at them, and of the stores, only the T-Mobile one had anyone other than employees in it. It was a bit of a joke, and it made me wonder when one of the cellphone providers will get wise to this and decide to cut out the third-party dealers, as well as the markup that their presence adds to the cost of cellphone service.


The British market has already been through this: big expansion, saturation, consolidation, contraction. (There were three Vodafone shops in Oxford a couple of years back, all within a couple of blocks, which seemed totally insane.) Now you have the discount, no-frills operations, and the branded stores in malls, and things are a little less silly.

I’m reminded of Douglas Adams’ ‘shoe event horizon’, though. Pity he didn’t live to see it.

• Posted by: nick on Jul 28, 2003, 10:15 PM
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