TORONTO — The Mobile Klinik chain of smartphone repair and resale shops plans to speed up its expansion with the help of its new owner, Telus Corp.
Mobile Klinik has 79 corporate and two franchised stores and will soon add two locations in Nova Scotia and P.E.I., giving it a presence in all 10 provinces.
Telus acquired the privately owned repair chain this month for an undisclosed amount, but Mobile Klinik expects to operate as an independent division serving customers of all carriers.
Mobile Klinik chief executive Tim McGuire said practically every Canadian has a cellphone and many have more than one.
"So we believe there's an opportunity for one large national chain that has a location conveniently accessible for every Canadian consumer," McGuire said.
"And that's more important than ever now, with people working from home and not going out (as much) to work in offices."
Mobile Klinik has discovered that it can successfully operate in towns as small as 15,000 to 20,000 people and possible fewer, McGuire said.
It's also conducting an experiment in Vegreville, Alta., a town of fewer than 6,000 residents east of Edmonton.
"We had a plan to get to 200-plus stores across the country in the next three or four years. We know with Telus's support . . . we can do that a year or two faster," McGuire said.
Mobile Klinik is one of several repair chains that Telus has recommended to its own customers in the past, but some have either closed or were acquired earlier this year.
Jim Senko, president of Telus Mobility Solutions, said Telus and Koodo locations will be able to concentrate on sales while Mobile Klinik focuses on a growing part of the mobile phone market.
He said 50 per cent of smartphone users are keeping the three or more years "so there's more customers that are looking for repair support to maintain those devices."
Consumers are also looking for more affordable options, so there's an increasing demand for pre-owned devices — which both Telus and Mobile Klinik have offered.
"That's a high-growth business for us," McGuire said. "That's where the market is heading these days as people keep their phones longer or bring their own phones (to a carrier's network)."
McGuire added that Mobile Klinik will continue to work with Rogers and Bell, which own Canada's other two national wireless networks, as well as hardware vendors including Apple and Samsung.
"A huge part of our offer is partnering with the organizations that need coverage across the country," McGuire said.
That includes not only the carriers and device manufacturers, but also insurance companies that provide the extended warranty protection for devices and major corporate customers.
"They don't want to deal with a different owner and different franchise and a different company in every small market. . . . So Mobile Klinik has positioned itself as the utility for the industry."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 17, 2020.
Companies in this story: (TSX:T, TSX:BCE, TSX:RCI.B)
David Paddon, The Canadian Press