Richards to Introduce MetroPCS

Wireless phone company MetroPCS has hired The Richards Group as its first agencyto handle a $10 million-plus advertising account.

MetroPCS, headquartered in Dallas, was formed in 1994 to buy licenses, build wireless networks and provide telecommunications services. The company’s launch had been delayed because of legal problems, but it is now looking at an early 2002 market introduction.

Dallas-based Richards, which has handled the PrimeCo wireless brand for several years, was selected following a national review of undisclosed agencies.

Several of the client’s top brass are former PrimeCo employees, which “was not a factor at all” in Richards’ selection, according to Dennis Spickler, chief financial officer of MetroPCS and also a former executive at PrimeCo.

“We look forward to exploiting their creative abilities in developing a brand and getting our message across,” said Spickler.

“We have a great deal of wireless experience that gives us an advantage in these situations,” Richards principal Brian Schadt said. We had a terrific rapport with these people, and they’re also big fans of ourradio work.”

Richards retains only a single PrimeCo market in Chicago after the client divided and sold its territories to other telecoms. The agency had also previously worked with Cellular One and its predecessor, McCaw Cellular.

MetroPCS will operate initially in Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif.