Sprint confirmed to FierceWireless it has discontinued its Direct 2 You phone delivery service. The company launched the program in 2015 and eventually expanded it across a number of U.S. cities; the program involved specially trained Sprint retail employees roving around in cars to meet customers.
“It was a great program,” Sprint spokesperson Dave Tovar told FierceWireless. “It was a great experience, and a great idea.”
Tovar said Sprint ended the program Saturday because he said the company needs to be careful about where it invests its resources. He noted though that the company has been gaining momentum in the wireless market; indeed in the fourth quarter Sprint reported 368,000 postpaid phone net additions during a particularly competitive fourth quarter.
“We believe that we have sufficient growth in our stores and other sales channels now,” Tovar said.
Wave7 Research’s Jeff Moore first noted the closure of Sprint’s Direct 2 You program this weekend.
Interestingly, Tovar said Sprint may return to the phone-delivery space in some fashion in the future. “We plan to evolve this approach into something even better and more efficient,” he said, adding “stay tuned.”
Sprint launched Direct 2 You in April 2015, fresh off its deal to co-brand more than 1,400 stores with RadioShack. The program launched in the carrier’s homebase of Kansas City and shortly thereafter expanded to Chicago, Miami, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and dozens of other cities.
"With our new Sprint Direct 2 You fleet of cars, it's as if we are adding 5,000 additional stores," Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in a statement initially announcing the service. "However, these mobile stores will be continuously on the move based on customer demand."
At one point Sprint said it could eventually have up to 5,000 cars on the road to support the service and may hire up to 5,000 new employees for Direct 2 You, most of them full-time workers.
Sprint’s closure of Direct 2 You coincides with the continued troubles of the RadioShack brand. Earlier this month RadioShack announced its second bankruptcy filing in as many years. However, Sprint said RadioShack’s new problems “are not material to Sprint’s overall sales results.”
As Sprint shutters Direct 2 You, rival AT&T recently voiced continued support for its own Enjoy phone delivery service. "So far it's gone well. The customer feedback is phenomenal,” AT&T’s Glenn Lurie recently told FierceWireless.
AT&T announced its deal with startup Enjoy, launched by former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson, in 2015 in New York and San Francisco, and added Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami the following year.