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: Millions without mobile phone service in Argentina

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

Britain's BT in talks to buy mobile operator EE

Dec 15, 2014

BT Group PLC said Monday it is in exclusive talks to buy mobile phone operator EE from Germany's Deutsche Telekom and France's Orange for 12.5 billion pounds ($20 billion) in cash and shares.

Re-imagining the network

Dec 12, 2014

Communication networks are evolving to keep pace with increasing consumer needs and business demands. We've already experienced the progressive jumps from 1G to 4G wireless networks and 5G is looming in the not-too-distant ...

High-speed Internet on its way to more schools

Dec 11, 2014

The Federal Communications Commission agreed Thursday to dramatically boost spending to bring high-speed Internet access to schools and libraries in poor or rural areas, a move that would likely increase Americans' phone ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.