With the iPhone 4S, Apple began expanding the number of iPhone carriers beyond some of the heavyweights like AT&T and Verizon. Of course, we all know that the iPhone is now available on Sprint, but Apple in November also made it available on C SPire Wireless, a regional carrier with a focus on Southern states.
Apple reportedly made a number of overtures to a few other regional carriers, including US Cellular, a regional carrier based out of Chicago. But believe it or not, US Cellular wasn’t all that intent on carrying the iPhone on account of what it deemed to be unacceptable business terms that threatened the company’s profitability. Indeed, it’s no secret that the subsidies Apple demands from carriers is well above those demanded by Android handset manufacturers.
But not only is US Cellular not iPhone crazy, the CEO of US Cellular’s parent company (TDS) exclaimed that the iPhone wasn’t cutting edge enough. Okay, let’s be fair. US Cellular is making a big push into 4G and since the iPhone 4S isn’t 4G compatible, it’s not something US Cellular wants to bank on at the moment. Which, of course, is a questionable call given the wild popularity of the iPhone 4S in spite of its 3G-only functionality.
In any event, TDS CEO Ted Carlson said the following while speaking at the annual UBS Global Media and COmmunications Conference.
“We’re never going to say never about the iPhone. The iPhone for us would need to be at the cutting edge of where we’re going, and then there might be an opportunity to consider it.”
Carlson went on to say that US Cellular’s top priority right now is rolling out 4G compatible smartphones and “lining up companies to provide LTE devices and then migrating customers to the service…”
Well, with the iPhone 5 by all accounts set to be 4G compatible, US Cellular might be reconsidering their anti-iPhone stance sooner rather than later.