Tiny US phone company is getting iPhone

Oct 19, 2011 By PETER SVENSSON , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Apple Inc. said Tuesday that C Spire Wireless, the country's eighth-largest phone company, will start selling the iPhone 4S in a few weeks.

That's a major coup for the small company, which provides service in Mississippi and surrounding states. So far, only the three biggest carriers sell the iPhone in the U.S. C Spire is bypassing the rest, including T-Mobile USA and U.S. Cellular, in getting the right to sell it.

Neither C Spire, which was known as Cellular South until a month ago, nor Apple explained why C Spire was getting the phone rather than the No. 4 carrier, T-Mobile.

Analyst Jan Dawson of Ovum found the announcement puzzling.

"Leapfrogging T-Mobile certainly feels like a slap in the face, and you could argue that there are others that should have come first," he said.

The iPhone 4S isn't compatible with T-Mobile USA's high-speed wireless data network, so Apple would have to change its design or make a version specific to T-Mobile. But Dawson believes that's a minor hurdle to overcome. The iPhone 4 exists in two versions for different networks already. Chicago-based U.S. Cellular Corp.'s network is compatible with one of them, but it isn't selling the phone.

Sprint Nextel Corp. began selling the iPhone last week. AT&T Inc. had it exclusively for more than three years, until Verizon Wireless started selling it in February.

Verizon, the largest carrier, has more than 100 million phones and other devices on its network, which compares to 1 million at C Spire. While it's tiny in comparison to other U.S. carriers, there are several overseas iPhone carriers that have fewer subscribers.

Hu Meena, the CEO of C Spire, testified in Washington in 2009 that small companies like his were denied access to the most attractive phones, as those were tied up with exclusive arrangements with the larger carriers.

C Spire, which is based in Ridgeland, Miss., has subscribers in Mississippi as well as the Memphis, Tenn., Mobile, Ala., and Pensacola, Fla. areas.

Explore further: Scientists twist radio beams to send data: Transmissions reach speeds of 32 gigabits per second

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Report says Sprint to get iPhone in October

Aug 23, 2011

(AP) -- Sprint Nextel Corp., the country's third-largest cellphone company, will start selling the iPhone in mid-October, The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday.

Sprint customers line up as it gets 1st iPhone

Oct 14, 2011

(AP) -- Apple stores got the longest lines as the new iPhone model launched Friday, but there were lines at Sprint stores too, as the carrier got a chance to sell the phone more than four years after the first ...

Recommended for you

Wireless sensor transmits tumor pressure

5 hours ago

The interstitial pressure inside a tumor is often remarkably high compared to normal tissues and is thought to impede the delivery of chemotherapeutic agents as well as decrease the effectiveness of radiation ...

Tim Cook puts personal touch on iPhone 6 launch

6 hours ago

Apple chief Tim Cook personally kicked off sales of the iPhone 6, joining in "selfies" and shaking hands with customers Friday outside the company's store near his Silicon Valley home.

Team improves solar-cell efficiency

21 hours ago

New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular ...

Calif. teachers fund to boost clean energy bets

21 hours ago

The California State Teachers' Retirement System says it plans to increase its investments in clean energy and technology to $3.7 billion, from $1.4 billion, over the next five years.

User comments : 0