Carrie Rengers

What company is entering Wichita with almost 30 stores?

MetroPCS authorized dealer Giselle Davis, center, on Tuesday shows Jemarion Willis some of the free phones the store in College Hill Plaza is giving away with the purchase of a new plan.
MetroPCS authorized dealer Giselle Davis, center, on Tuesday shows Jemarion Willis some of the free phones the store in College Hill Plaza is giving away with the purchase of a new plan. The Wichita Eagle

It’s not uncommon for large chains to enter the Wichita market with a couple of stores or even three or four at one time in different areas of the city.

But 25 or 30?

That’s what MetroPCS is doing.

“When we come into a market, we typically like to come in full force,” says John Schwein, regional vice president of the Richardson, Texas, company.

“We are in the process of opening 25 to 30 doors across the metro area,” he says.

When he says doors, that means stores.

The idea is “so we can have a big market presence all at once.”

Nineteen stores have opened since late June, and there are another six to 10 to go.

The stores are dealer-operated. They’re similar to franchises, though they’re not franchises.

They offer prepaid wireless services and post-paid services, where customers pay a flat rate at the end of a month’s worth of usage.

“It’s a very simple, streamlined billing,” Schwein says.

He says customers can know what to expect with their bills every month. There’s unlimited talking and texting, and there’s an international calling plan with a particular focus on Mexico.

Stores also have accessories of all kinds.

“Anything that’s going to help people connect to and use their device to the fullest potential,” Schwein says.

He says the stores compete closely with Cricket Wireless and Boost Mobile and, in some cases, Sprint.

The company merged with T-Mobile almost three years ago and operates on its network.

The PCS in its name stands for “personal communications services,” which Schwein says is a term that’s not used much anymore.

“We’ve just kept that because that’s where we came from.”

The company began with what Schwein calls a rolling launch of stores in Wichita in the last week of June and had a hard launch the beginning of this month.

“It’s been busy,” he says.

The stores, which are typically 1,500 to 2,000 square feet, are in the greater Wichita metropolitan area, including Andover, Derby and Hutchinson.

“With this many stores, we are hiring a lot of people,” Schwein says.

For a regularly updated list of stores, go to www.metropcs.com/find-store.html.

The company has opened in more than 50 new markets in the last two years.

“MetroPCS has been on a rapid expansion across the country,” Schwein says. It’s “been on an unparallelled expansion path.”

It launched in the Kansas City and St. Louis markets in August 2014.

“Wichita was always on our radar, but we wanted to make sure we were able to do justice to some of those other markets first,” Schwein says. “We felt the time is now.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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