U.S. Cellular says it passed on the iPhone, reaffirms plans for LTE and tiered data

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| November 4, 2011

iPhone 4S

Ever since it was revealed that regional carrier C Spire Wireless would begin offering the iPhone 4S, folks have been curious as to which carrier might be the next home to Apple's new smartphone. U.S. Cellular has been one of the more oft-suggested possibilities, but during the carrier's Q3 2011 earnings call today, CEO Mary Dillon revealed that USCC actually had the chance to carry the iPhone but turned it down. Dillon explained that the terms of the deal with Apple "were unacceptable from a risk and profitability standpoint," but that the potential strain that the addition of the iPhone may have placed on U.S. Cellular's network played no part in the carrier's decision to pass on the device. U.S. Cellular customers shouldn't lose all hope of seeing an iPhone on their network at some point, though, as Dillon said that USCC is still open to offering the device in the future.

U.S. Cellular also took the opportunity to touch a bit on things that will be coming to its network. First up, the carrier reaffirmed the fact that it'll soon be making the switch to tiered data plans, saying that the change will come sometime in the first half of 2012. It stopped short of giving any further details.

U.S. Cellular then reiterated its plans for LTE, saying that it plans to have LTE coverage in around 25 percent of its coverage footprint by the end of 2011. USCC is still evaluating its LTE expansion plans for next year, and said that it doesn't expect to implement Voice over LTE until at least 2013. As far as LTE devices go, though, U.S. Cellular plans to release its first LTE-enabled products in Q1 2012.

Although it would've been exciting to see the iPhone make its way to U.S. Cellular's shelves, we've already seen that it can be expensive to add the device to a carrier's roster, so it's understandable why U.S. Cellular would pass on Apple's handset for the time being. The good news is that USCC folk have an LTE network to look forward to in the next couple of months, with devices to follow in the first quarter of next year. Get excited, U.S. Cellular customers!

Via Fierce Wireless

Products mentioned