Mobile carriers in the US, including T-Mobile, have partnerships with retail outlets to sell services to customers visiting those stores. T-Mobile made a big deal about expanding to “National Retail” back in September of 2021. Unfortunately it looks like the company responsible for mobile sales in Costco, called Wireless Advocates, has suddenly shut down without notice.
According to posts on Reddit, Wireless Advocates LLC has completely and suddenly ceased all business operations as of today, December 5th. Costco was apparently blindsided by the news, finding out along with employees that the partnership was ending due to company shutdown.
Wireless Advocates gave no warning to any employees, opting to hold a conference call earlier today informing them of the news. Most employees were not even informed of the conference call however, and found out about their layoff when they arrived to work.
Employees then received an email informing them of their separation from the company. A copy of that email, as well as a page from the linked FAQ, is embedded below.
The news not only affects T-Mobile retail sales but also AT&T and Verizon. Wireless Advocates handled sales for all three carriers in Costco locations, as well as some military bases. According to a cache of the Wireless Advocates website (which no longer exists as of this morning), the company had a presence in at least 535 Costco stores and 65 military bases.
I spoke with a now former employee of Wireless Advocates who said they attempted to sign in online early this morning and found their credentials no longer worked. When they arrived to work, they were told the company they worked for no longer existed. The employee said there was absolutely no warning, and not even lower management was informed ahead of time.
To add insult to injury, the temporary credentials given to the employee for accessing employment data apparently don’t work. The company has disabled or deleted all former logins for employees, so there is currently no way for them to review company information.
One user on Reddit mentions that there are a ton of customers with pending issues or orders that need to be contacted. It’s unclear how (or if) the company will handle this now that everyone is unemployed.
As of publication there is no official statement from either Costco or Wireless Advocates. We’ll be sure to update this post if they do.
Some users on Reddit also mention the possibility of this termination violating the WARN act. The law states that companies with a certain number of employees must provide 60 days notice before mass layoffs. It’s unclear if Wireless Advocates would be subject to this law or not.
As for Costco, one user on Reddit says the stores are likely to replace Wireless Advocates with unmanned kiosks for either T-Mobile or AT&T.