US Cellular, the fifth-largest phone carrier behind AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, has announced its plans to carry Apple products later this year (Fall 2013). This is a major change from USCC’s claim in 2011 that it would not carry the iPhone because Apple’s demands were too controlling and too expensive. I talked with my local USCC representative some nine months ago, and the claim was the same: the iPhone was too expensive, “you’re paying for a name,” and so on. Well, it looks as if the carrier has finally come to its senses and capitulated.
USCC’s CEO Mary Dillon stated in her quarterly earnings announcement that the carrier would “offer [ing]Apple products,” signifying that there will be more than one Apple item to make its way to the carrier stores. As Dillon continued her announcement, she noted USCC’s commitment to “enable our existing customers to choose from an even wider variety of iconic smartphones” – an indication that US Cellular’s smartphone collection is about to add one more iconic smartphone to the collection. We need not ponder what this means: we know that Dillon is referring to the iPhone. According to Cult of Mac’s Buster Heine, however, “US Cellular doesn’t specifically state that it will be selling the iPhone.” However, if USCC plans to provide “an even wider variety of iconic smartphones,” what else could it be but the iPhone? She goes on to discuss USCC’s “smartphone penetration,” so I think it obvious to what beloved item Dillon refers.
Dillon concluded her announcement with the words, “we believe there will be strong, ongoing demand for smartphones and data products…” Data products consist of more than just smartphones, so we can be sure Dillon is also referring to Apple’s large iPad and iPad Mini. These are not explicit, but her reference to “Apple products” may be a dead giveaway.
Finally, one of the fastest-growing regional carriers will have the coveted iPhone in its grasp. Any US Cellular customers ready for a contract upgrade?