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The term "co-op" implies two things to me: 1) an independent entity owned by the members it serves (like a rural electrical co-op), or 2) a group of consumers who collectively purchase something (like health insurance) to get a lower price.
That first type of co-op is usually created by federal law, receives federal subsidies, and is generally justified as a means of providing service to an area that would be commerically infeasible to serve otherwise. There are about 600 of these types of cell phone co-ops throughout the U.S., represented by two different full-service non-profit associations. As the major service providers expand into remote areas, however, they can generally offer more plans, more services, more phone choices, and lower prices than the co-ops can.
That second type of co-op is generally organized by a group of related consumers who have a common need, and who approach a major provider as a collective buyer (in the large numbers you were referring to). For instance, the Homeschool Buyer's Co-op purchases items like school supplies from selected vendors at a large discount, and recently negotiated agreements with Verizon and AT&T for cell phone discounts. They have over 21,000 members. Maybe when this community grows to that number, you can organize us into a cooperative!
Got a flyer from AAA today that has a deal with Consumer Cellular. Is consumer based only, but shows me that some larger entity could ink such a deal. I am happy to pursue such a concept, just need some support. Like a whole bunch of like minded, hard working, cost conscious business people, who have a common larger entity that binds them together...wonder where I could find such a thing?
Hmmm -- must be a group like that somewhere . . .
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Hope this helps, LUCKIEST
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Most large carriers (sprint, verizon, AT&T, etc) should have a business plan that suits your needs. Now it just depends on the kind of deal you can get. I used to have to deal with Sprint for about 150 phones (blackberries, direct connects, etc) and the company had a pool of minutes that were drawn upon instead of having 4000 minutes for this phone and 250 for that one and so on. Sprint did do a good job of this (around 2006 while they were merging with Nextel since the accounts were split between Sprint and Nextel). The real pain was just dealing with their customer service.
Now my buddy used Verizon for his companies cell usage and always had the best reception and would get deals from them. So if you shop around with the major carriers, let them know you're shopping and they will usually try to undercut each other...or at least in my experience.
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Looking to save on telecom. Have a few employees and even more biz partners and we all have small plans (minutes, data, blackberries, etc) ..but we total about 10,000 minutes a month as a group. Most are on consumer plans. Talked to all the big carriers and even if we all come together, the increased business pricing actually costs more, even after discounts. Is they a cell phone co-op out there, where some leverage can be pooled? Any other ideas? Thanks.