The U.S. Cellular iPhone is in testing by U.S. Cellular staff who are getting familiar with the device before the regional carrier starts selling the iPhone later this year.
In May, U.S. Cellular announced that it would carry the iPhones later this year, specifically telling Gotta Be Mobile that the announcement was for “iPhone products.”
When Apple announced the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c there was no mention of a new carrier and as the iPhone 5s release date approaches there is no mention of purchasing a U.S. Cellular iPhone 5s on Apple’s website.
This is not surprising as Apple is likely forcing U.S. Cellular to hold off on an announcement until after the iPhone 5s release date. It may also be in part due to rumored iPhone 5s production issues which could limit the number of iPhone 5s units Apple has on hand in September.
While Apple didn’t announce the U.S. Cellular iPhone 5s last week, U.S. Cellular sent a reminder to Gotta Be Mobile writing,
“… as previously announced, U.S. Cellular will soon be carrying iPhone products. We are looking forward to iPhone fans coming to the high-quality U.S. Cellular network and experiencing our industry-leading rewards program.”
This morning a Gotta Be Mobile reader shared a conversation he had with an individual in charge of marketing at a U.S. Cellular store in Greenville, North Carolina. When asked about the U.S. Cellular iPhone the employee told him,
“we currently have the technology on our hands, so our staff can get a feel for the device before further sales.”
While the employee did not mention any of the new iPhone models by name, U.S. Cellular’s comments about carrying multiple iPhone products leads us to believe we will soon see a U.S. Cellular iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 4s. Apple typically adds the back catalog of phones to new carriers when it delivers support, as we saw with T-Mobile and Sprint.
The same employee told the tipster that U.S. Cellular may offer a 4G LTE Unlimited data plans and may also offer shared data plans. Sprint is the only major U.S. carrier still offering true unlimited data plans, so this could be an interesting move. Most major carriers now offer shared data plans, which allow multiple lines to use the same data plan, instead of selling one plan per line.
This is the first tip from this individual, but the timing would make sense. When Apple added Cricket as an iPhone carrier in 2012, the company did not start sales until a week after the major players.
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