Although US tech users have always had the habit of complaining about their wireless providers, if there’s one thing this nation has aplenty, it's mobile carriers. Aside from the big guys (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile), there are four other wireless providers that each service at least six million people (TracFone, MetroPCS, US Cellular, and Cricket Wireless), but also 170 (!) other smaller networks.
Is there any more room in such a crowded market? Well, it seem there is, as there’s a new player gearing up to get into the game. If we are to trust some internal docs leaked by the guys over at Engadget, RadioShack, one of the biggest electronics retailers in America, is planning to launch its own no-contract wireless service.
The two screenshots reveal quite a lot about RadioShack’s bold plans, including a possible collaboration with Cricket Wireless. In the “getting started” section of one of the documents, potential customers are asked to activate their new devices by calling a phone number that currently serves as a Cricket customer service line.
We don’t quite believe in coincidences, so there’s a very good possibility that RadioShack will become an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) for Cricket. In other words, Radio Shack will sign up an agreement with the number eight carrier in the US that would give the retailer the possibility to use the wireless network infrastructure of Cricket.
The odd thing about this scenario is that it could really confuse future RadioShack phone buyers. Cricket itself has an agreement to use Sprint’s 3G network. Just imagine having connection issues and getting sent back and forth between three different providers.
The two leaked docs don’t mention a thing about when would RadioShack start selling phones on its own, or for what kind of money, but it’s clear that the new carrier will be offering devices on pre-paid plans similar to those on Virgin Mobile, MetroPCS, Boost, or Cricket.
The HTC One V is thought to be among the first phones offered by RadioShack. Along the One V, we will probably see devices like the Huawei Mercury, Huawei Pillar, ZTE Chorus or ZTE Score. Engadget also says something about a mysterious 4.3-incher from Alcatel, although we’re hoping they are wrong on the screen size and the phone will actually be the 4.5-inch OT986 we saw unveiled back in May.
Engadget contacted RadioShack to confirm or deny the story, but as expected, the company declined to comment on “rumors or speculation”. We're pretty sure we're on to something, though, so keep in touch to find out more on the subject. In the meantime, tell us if you'd ever be interested in purchasing a phone from RadioShack Mobile.