May 22nd, 2013

Remember that super exciting Verizon Wireless announcement we just told you about? Well, Big Red showed up all right… except we’re not exactly sure what the big fuss was all about. The company has announced Viva Movil, a partnership between Verizon, Jennifer Lopez, Brightstar and Moorehead Communications to launch a new retail wireless experience geared toward the significant Latino population here in America.

Viva Movil will have a physical retail presence all over the country, starting with a New York City location launching June 15th, with other locations popping up in places like Los Angeles, Miami and more over time. The stores will feature play areas for kids, live device demos, and bi-lingual Latino employees who can help Latinos who may not speak perfect English.

viva lol

According to the press briefing, Viva Movil is majority owned by Jennifer Lopez, and Verizon Wireless doesn’t have a lick of stake in the company. They will, however, be the exclusive carrier partner to provide wireless service and devices for customers who choose to seek service via this route. Verizon will maintain the same pricing structure and plans for those who choose to get their phones through Viva Movil, and Viva Movil won’t have any of their own-branded or exclusive devices for the foreseeable future.

A big emphasis is being put on the social aspects of Viva Movil. Users will be able to shop for smartphones, plans and accessories through Viva Movil’s Facebook page without ever having to leave Facebook. This is supposed to be a “game changer,” according to Verizon, but it sounds more like an extra nuisance of a step to take when you can just go right to the site or the physical store itself (or, better yet, just go to a freaking Verizon store).

This announcement left my colleagues and I in an utter state of confusion. Why? Why must this exist? What is the need for a retail shopping experience tailored specifically for Latinos? Why does a mobile phone store need a playground?

And what’s the point of all this if it doesn’t offer much more than a way to bypass any possible language barrier issues a non-English speaking patron might have? Does Jennifer Lopez think her own-branded accessories need an entire store? Are we really supposed to believe that this is a significant development for the wireless industry?

There are too many questions to be answered about Viva Movil, and the way Verizon was dancing around the questions they got at the CTIA press event it sounds like they’re not too sure of what Viva Movil is supposed to be themselves. In short: Vete a casa, Verizon. Estás borracho.

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