Back when the iPhone 4S launched one of the things that disappointed us was the lack of the device on local carriers. But then last month, C Spire (nee Cellular South) announced that they would carry it, sparking hope of other local offerings.
However, that trend might not spread. Today, U. S. Cellular — fifth largest carrier in the states that serves the midwest — revealed in an earnings call that they were offered the chance to sell the iPhone but turned it down. Apparently the carrier felt the risks were too great financially, though they didn’t fear a network overload.
That’s not too shocking. Ever since it joined Verizon and AT&T on the iPhone bandwagon people have noted that Sprint’s taking a big risk on the device given how much it costs them. The company feels the risk is well worth it and will ultimately put them back on track financially in a couple of years. A smaller carrier may not have so much leeway.
U.S. Cellular isn’t completely ruling out the iPhone, though. CEO Mary Dillon said they’re open to carrying it in the future, perhaps under better terms from Apple.
This makes me wonder how much of a gamble the iPhone represents for C Spire, which is smaller than U. S. Cellular. If it’s going to take Sprint over a year to see a financial uptick from the iPhone, how long will it take them? I’m also curious as to how many other small or local carriers turned down this offer.