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Retail Snapshot: Cingular’s upscale Orlando customers are data savvy: And signing up to get the iPhone when it’s available

Editor’s Note: In this monthly feature, RCR Wireless News talks to retail managers across the country to get a first-hand view of what’s hot in wireless.

Cingular Wireless L.L.C., now a part of AT&T Inc., has historically held the South as its stronghold. Kevin Balgobin, sales manager for the Cingular store at the Mall at Millennia in Orlando, Fla., takes a few minutes to talk with RCR Wireless News about retail trends in the area. The upscale mall (which offers directions for arriving via limousine or helicopter on its Web site), is 15 minutes from the Walt Disney World resort and has nearly 150 stores.

What handsets are the most popular right now?
The most popular handsets would definitely be our 3G product line. Between the PDAs, the Blackjack and the Cingular Sync, those have been extremely popular phones in our lineup because of the high-speed data speeds that we have available now.

What plans are people interested in?
We are definitely positioning our Unity rate plans to our customers. We have a variety of consumer and business rate plans . but we’re positioning those plans first. People are still grasping the concept of it, a little bit . the Unity plans pretty much ties in your wireless and wireline all in one rate plan. Our consumers can call between mobile-to-mobile phone calls and landline phone calls with no additional charges, if they have AT&T home service.

Which accessories are customers adding on?
Our Bluetooth product line has been phenomenal. The new Jawbone headset [which is with Cingular exclusively] that has been in our store; sometimes we can’t even keep them on our shelves. The noise reduction feature on it is phenomenal; it’s a great headset for the value. The battery life is great on it and the voice quality is phenomenal as well.

What data add-ons are customers taking?
If they’re going with the Samsung Blackjack or the Sync, they’re definitely getting the data add-on. The value is already there, it’s just up to us to show that. They know how they want to use it. [Some are] doing the unlimited data plan, the Media Max bundles that we have. . [Last week] we launched in retail stores the unlimited mobile-to-mobile text feature. We had great success with that … at my location. Everything we touched got the unlimited text messaging feature.

Describe a typical customer at your location.
A typical customer at my location is very data-savvy. Customers come in and they give us a run for our money, throwing questions at us about products that just came out or are coming out and the customers know they’re coming out. They’re very data-savvy, very high data users and quite a few high voice users as well.

What do you see ahead for 2007?
People can’t wait for the iPhone. That is going to be a phenomenal device and a great opportunity for both the new AT&T and Apple. I have over 200 people that are waiting [on a list for iPhone]. (Cingular said that it has “thousands” of customers already signed up online for iPhones.) I’m fortunate being in this mall-I have one of the biggest Apple stores they have in Florida here, and it’s a great relationship for the both of us.

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