"Jenny from the Block" wants the block to buy Verizon phones from her.
and actress Jennifer Lopez on Wednesday announced she's opening a chain
of 15 cellphone stores and a website under the Viva Movil brand. The
aim is to sell Verizon phones and services to Latinos.
store will open in New York on June 15, with others following in Los
Angeles and Miami. The stores will have bilingual staff and provide a
"culturally relevant shopping experience," Viva Movil said.
Viva Movil will be an authorised Verizon reseller, with the same prices and plans as regular Verizon stores.
is the majority owner and "chief creative officer" of Viva Movil. She
said Viva Movil and its Facebook page will be a way for fans to connect
"Latinos need a place to go and they need to be catered
to because it is such a growing, growing demographic and market and
people want to capture that, and they deserve to be catered to," Lopez
said in an interview.
Lopez is no stranger to business. She owns a film and television production company and has launched clothing and perfume lines.
said she wasn't looking specifically to get into wireless - "it was
just one of those things where you sit down with people and you start
Marketing cellphone service specifically to Latinos
has not been a winning formula so far in the U.S. One company targeting
Spanish speakers, Movida Communications, raised $40 million in 2007 and
filed for bankruptcy the following year.
Most attempts to cater to
Latinos have focused on low-cost, no-contract service. By partnering
with Verizon, Lopez is hitching her business to a company that's focused
on premium, contract-based service, backed by a top-rated wireless
The U.S. wireless market does have a large but
low-profile Latin American presence: Mexican cellphone company America
Movil owns Tracfone, the largest provider of no-contract service, with
23 million phones active. That service isn't marketed specifically to