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Sam's Club Adds New Vendor to Compete With Costco—But Shoppers Aren't Happy

The cellular partnership comes on the heels of Costco's failing smartphone services.

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In the war between Sam's Club and Costco, the Walmart-owned retailer has made a powerful jab at its wholesale competitor, hoping to reel in new members. It's widely known that Sam's Club has been investing in special offerings to differentiate itself from Costco—such as curbside pickup, its Scan & Go app, and a more streamlined receipt-checking process. However, Sam's Club's latest cellular partnership is facing major backlash from shoppers.

RELATED: Shoppers Are Ditching Costco for Sam's Club Over New Membership Rules.

On April 10, T-Mobile was named Sam's Club's "exclusive in-club wireless provider" in a Walmart-issued press release. Sam's Club members can now enroll in cellular plans, shop the latest T-Mobile gadgets, and speak one-on-one with mobile experts, all while shopping for groceries and household essentials for "next-level convenience."

"Together with T-Mobile, we are bringing more affordable telecom services to our members without compromising on network quality or customer service," according to Leslie Fletcher, Sam's Club vice president of mobile and services. "T-Mobile's offering aligns with our commitment to offer high-quality products and services at an exceptional value to our members."

Sam's Club announced the partnership on Facebook, but the store's level of excitement wasn't exactly matched by its members. Several argued that the vendor's presence would hinder the Sam's Club shopping experience. "Just an area of the store I avoid so I am not harrassed while trying to shop," one user commented on the post.

"No thank you. Hate being harrassed by them when I come in the store. I going down another aisle just to avoid them," an unhappy shopper said, while another added: "T mobile is a downgrade. Would never do business with them."

Another Sam's Club member commented, "As long as they don't stop me from shopping to ask me about my cellphone provider."

The store's Facebook announcement has received over 260 mixed reactions, which one user noted should be indicative of members' lack of excitement towards the new deal. "Hey Sam's Club….are you paying attention to the comments??" they asked.

RELATED: Costco Shoppers Are Abandoning These Kirkland Products: "Gone Downhill."

However, the Sam's Club and T-Mobile collaboration is likely a response to Costco's current smartphone services, which suffered a significant blow in Feb. 2023 when its third-party partner went out of business, per The Daily Courier. At the time, Costco members had access to discounted merchandise and smartphone plans via AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. These carriers still exist at Costco, but in a different format—and they aren't contracted to offer Costco member-only deals or services.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile is offering a sweet deal to Sam's Club members. Effective immediately, shoppers can "receive up to $1,350 per line in value when they switch to T-Mobile and trade-up for a new device on one of T-Mobile's new plans, Go5G Plus or Go5G Next," per the release.

Phones aside, the T-Mobile station will also offer T-Mobile 5G Home Internet and T-Mobile for Business. Additionally, Sam's Club is offering annual incentives for shoppers who activate a new T-Mobile account and maintain their membership status year after year.

"We are truly enhancing the total value we offer our members, offering not only competitive prices but also access to the largest and fastest 5G network with a friendly and engaging 'un-carrier' experience inside our clubs," stated Fletcher.

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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