U.S. Cellular says no to iPhone 4S, quarterly sales estimates say YES!

iPhone 4S: Everything you need to know

According to a report by Fierce Wireless, U.S. Cellular apparently turned down the opportunity to carry Apple's new iPhone 4S:

U.S. Cellular turned down Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone because it did not make sense for the company economically, CEO Mary Dillon said on the company's third-quarter earnings conference call. Dillon said that the carrier had the opportunity to sell the iPhone but that Apple's "terms were unacceptable from a risk and profitability standpoint."

Dillon mentioned that U.S. Cellular may be open to carrying the iPhone a little further down the road. It's possible that these "unacceptable terms" could have been similar to the Sprint deal that required a hefty four year investment to get into the iPhone game.

Meanwhile, the three big U.S. carriers that do have the iPhone 4S are booming following huge initial sales.

Canaccord Genuity’s Mike Walkley this morning raised his already fairly high estimate for this quarter’s sales by Apple (AAPL) of its iPhone from 27 million units to 29 million units, after his “checks” last month suggested the iPhone 4S was the top seller at AT&T (T), Sprint-Nextel (S), and Verizon Communications (VZ).

C-Spire Wireless, a much smaller regional carrier with around 875,000 subscribers, was able to pick up the iPhone 4S just fine by working within Apple's terms.

So what gives, U.S. Wireless?

Source: FierceWireless, Barron's

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Andrew Wray

Andrew Wray is a Salt Lake City, Utah based writer who focuses on news, how-tos, and jailbreak. Andrew also enjoys running, spending time with his daughter, and jamming out on his guitar. He works in a management position for Unisys Technical Services, a subsidiary of Unisys Corporation.

More Posts



← Previously

Apple's VP of Global Security no longer with Apple after the lost iPhone 4S investigation

Next up →

Apple uses massive cash reserve to tie up supply chain... and lasers

Reader comments

U.S. Cellular says no to iPhone 4S, quarterly sales estimates say YES!


How would bringing the iPhone onto one's network NOT be a good investment? The iPhone has proven to be a HUGE sale boon for new companies. Just look at Verizon as well as Sprint! It would be crazy not to jump on the iPhone bandwagon, wouldn't it?

Increased sales don't always mean higher profits. Apple apparently requires a crazy high per device premium in addition to whatever multi-year deals carriers sign. Not every company is willing or able to take that initial hit because they might not have the wiggle room to get through the initial hit and start turning a profit. US Cellular has a Belief point system that lets their users upgrade earlier than 18 months, and get a free phone replacement should the phone be damaged (or a $100 to replace one that is lost). With the premiums apple demands, that program could build up costs fast.
You mentioned Verizon and Sprint. Look at what both companies got rid of right before they got the iphone:
-removed annual upgrades and "membership perks"
-increased the ETF on smartphones
-capped data (verizon)
-Verizon dropped return policy wait time
-Sprint is testing out tiered data plans
With smaller carriers, it's frequently the perks (or price) that get them customers since they can't really compete on coverage. If they have to give up their perks (as other companies seemingly have to) then it's less likely someone will choose them. Brand loyalty doesn't really exist for carriers outside of internet forums. People go where they get a good price or good coverage.

US Cellular even without the iPhone already has a capped 5GB limit to their data plans as of 2010. The belief system isn't as good as it sounds (yes, their vague commercials say a lot) and their phone selection and variety is the worst in comparison to the current top 4 national carriers.
Conclusion? The CEO is a retard and is about to lose my family plan for four subscription within the next couple months.

Bad move. They could be selling a ton of iPhone 4s'. Oh well. Their loss. If C-Spire is their competitor, then BUAAAAAH HA HA HA HA HAAAAAA!!!

Come on people selling the iPhone actually cost the carrier a lost of around $400 dollars every time someone walks out the door with one it will be around a year when that carrier recoups that lost from that sale. Some small carriers can't take a hit like even with only 1 million subscribers to their service. If everyone on their network were to get an iPhone which is highly unlikely it would cost them $400,000,000 million dollars

US Cellular is a great service. They provide almost all the CDMA wireless services to us in WV. Verizon really didn't want anything to do with us but eventually bough out WV Wireless in Charleston then had to ignite 4G LTE in that market to satisfy Sen Rockefeller when Verizon went to buy 4G airwaves. They also had to promise to build out their LTE service throughout WV regardless so most likely US Cellular isn't wanting to spend the money on iPhone because Verizon is eating up its profitable markets like WV. Verizon already has been providing customers in Clarksburg and Weston in the north central part of WV and US Cellular has been losing many customers to Verizon thanks to their wide supply of Android devices, coverage, and also offering the iPhone now. Verizon doesn't have an official store using places like Radio Shack and independent retailers to sell their brand. Its likely Verizon Wireless will try and squeeze US Cellular out of WV's rural areas where they make a great profit since in most rural areas of WV they provide service or better service than AT&T.

This is dumb, the only thing i want is the iPhone. And can't change carriers. Do they realize if they got it they would get a mad profit because everyone wants it. They are so retarded, I'm about to drop them completely because of the lack of phone they carry opposed to everyone else.