Smart Retail Never Dies; 1800Mobiles is Celebrating its 15th Year Anniversary

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In a land of fly-by-night e-commerce sites, 1800Mobiles is celebrating its 15th year in business. From its vanity-number business model to anecdotes on how the owners came up with the idea; from the bag phone to the iPhone, this web site has seen it all and keeps on growing.

In May 1998, Amazon was roaring. Everyone in their 20s in New York was looking for an e-commerce to launch.

Fashion designers were snubbing the idea as, according to them, luxury clients needed to feel the fabric and e-com will never work in luxury.

Besides books, one could only get flowers and some early food delivery services like Peapod.

Being fans of the 1800Flowers model, the two founders Federico Mosca and Marcello De Luca were intensely searching for an idea. It was when Federico's brother forgot his phone at the gym that Marcello said "I got it; cell phones are the future." While, in the U.S., Bill Clinton had a bag phone, in Europe cell phones were already hugely popular and the two owners are Milanese.

At the time, one could only get a phone in a store as most phones were analog and needed lengthy activations.

The URL,, was available; the vanity number, was not. So the founders made an offer to a mobile homes' reseller, owning the rights over the 800 number.

So a star was born and after building the site on an e-com platform later sold to Yahoo, 1800mobiles was born. By securing a deal with a large national accessory distributor, which would also handle our shipments to the customers, the company quickly became a household name. Phones were activated and shipped to NY customers only, through a local dealer. It was only in 1999 when the owners signed with AT&T Wireless, the very first contract allowing over-the-air activations of cell phones. Sprint and Voice stream (now known as T-Mobile) followed.

PPC campaigns were cheap, affiliates abundant, search engines were helping, competition non-existent. The good old days.

Fast forward to May 1st 2013 and 1800mobiles is still here, unlike hundreds of "fly by night" attempts to copy it. After millions of phones and accessories shipped, a new site design and a new business model were revealed where cell phone news are now offered to its users.

To celebrate our 15 year anniversary we are offering a one time 15% discount (enter coupon 15yrs) on cell phone accessories orders only (most of our phone offers are free with service, anyways).

From being the first web site to ever activate cell phones remotely to the one predicting the advent of smart phones and phablets, 1800mobiles is here to stay.

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Marcello De Luca
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