Wireless Providers Dialed In On Jackson

Wireless Providers Dialed In On Jackson

Terryl Jackson - July 13, 2009

You don’t have to travel far in the Jackson area to find a cellular phone service provider. Even as the economy continues to struggle, more wireless communications franchises are popping up in and around Jackson.

“The investment going into it is relatively inexpensive,” said Jerry Wood, business consultant with GGW & Associates in Jackson. “However, the chance of failure is much higher.”

Citizen Patriot file photo
Customers browse the products at a Comtronics store, One Comtronics Place, near downtown Jackson.

One reason for that is because larger phone companies, such as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, still dominate the market, Wood said. Still, more independent retailers are trying their hands at this growing market.

“It’s everybody’s dream to go into business (for themselves),” Wood said. “In today’s economy, you would rather work for yourself than somebody else.”

Jeff Eccleton started working for Lightyear Wireless about a year ago. As an independent representative for the Louisville, Ky.-based company, Eccleton opened his Lightyear Wireless store in Jackson in December.

“I saw a great opportunity with the company,” he said. “We can grow it as big as we can possibly grow it.”
Eventually he moved his store from 1400 N. West Ave. to 807 S. Brown St. under the name Revolutionary Wireless.
Now he is building a new headquarters — a 6,900-square-foot building at 2600 Airport Road that will be completed by October. Construction began last week.

Revolutionary Wireless still sells Lightyear Wireless products and carries prepaid wireless phones and plans. The company has 22 independent sales representatives in the area and 55 more nationwide.

“I want to put people to work,” Eccleton said. “I want to help them build something they can call their own.”

Jackson-based Comtronics, the 50-year-old company that specializes in electronic security systems and telecommunications equipment, got into the cellular-phone market 10 years ago.

In May, the company opened its newest retail store at W. Michigan Avenue and Brown Street. President and CEO John Campau said he has seen many wireless phone companies come and go.

“There’s a lot of businesses that think this is easy,” he said. “It’s become a very competitive business.”

Comtronics, which sells Alltel, Nextel and Sprint products, does not sell pre-paid phones. “We’ve stayed away from that,” Campau said. “I don’t believe there’s a strong market for the pre-paid (phones). I think half of them are going to be gone in the first year.”

Talk A Lot Wireless, which has four storefronts in the Jackson area and about 50 locations across the state, sells MetroPCS phone service and products. The business offers phones with no contracts or credit checks.

Bill Karl, who manages the Talk A Lot Wireless store at 1232 Francis St., said he does not feel the market is saturated with wireless communications franchises. “It’s all in preference and what the customer’s needs are,” he said.

Reprinted with permission from The Jackson Citizen Patriot
Copyright July 2009

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