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Apple expanding iPhone availability to smaller regional US carriers

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
C Spire Wireless, a regional U.S. carrier with about 900,000 customers, revealed on Wednesday that it will be offering Apple's new iPhone 4S "soon," making it the first smaller carrier in America to have access to Apple's smartphone.

C Spire is a CDMA carrier like Verizon and Sprint. By adding the iPhone 4S to its lineup, it will be the fourth carrier in the U.S. to officially offer Apple's new handset.

C Spire updated its website on Wednesday to announce that it will carry the iPhone 4S, and has a page devoted to features of the new handset including Siri voice control, the speedy dual-core A5 chip and all-new camera. Users can provide their e-mail address and mobile number to receive more information when it becomes available.

The addition of C Spire marks the first time Apple has allowed a smaller, regional carrier to officially offer the iPhone for use on its network. The revelation follows indications from Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook that the company plans to aggressively push for sales of its iPhone platform to go even higher.

"We want the iPhone to be in as many customers' hands as possible because we think it's the greatest phone by far," Cook said during his company's quarterly conference call on Tuesday. "And that's why we live to do that. And so yes, we aspire to much larger volumes than where we are."

Based in Ridgeland, Miss., and serving customers in Mississippi, Memphis, the Florida Panhandle, and parts of Alabama and Georgia, C Spire is not one of the "big four" wireless providers in the U.S.

The only one of the four biggest carriers in the U.S. that does not offer the iPhone is T-Mobile. That carrier is the fourth-largest in America with 33.73 million customers.

T-Mobile's lack of access to the iPhone is a result of the company's 3G service relying on the uncommon 1700MHz and 2100MHz bands, which are not supported by Apple's smartphone. Users who operate an unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile's network are restricted to much slower "EDGE" speeds.



Sprint became the third wireless partner for Apple earlier this month. In their first day of availability with Sprint, the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 both broke sales records for the carrier, which is the third-largest in the U.S.

Verizon, the largest U.S. carrier by customers, gained access to the iPhone in February, ending more than three years of exclusivity with AT&T. Throughout 2011, the iPhone 4 has been the best-selling smartphone at both Verizon and AT&T in the U.S.
post #2 of 46
I'm not an engineer, but how difficult/expensive would it be for Apple to add the T-Mobile USA frequency to the iPhone? You'd think they were leaving money on the table.

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post #3 of 46
yeah but will they be able to support Visual Voicemail?
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post #4 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

I'm not an engineer, but how difficult/expensive would it be for Apple to add the T-Mobile USA frequency to the iPhone? You'd think they were leaving money on the table.

You could say the same thing about Sprint 1 or 2 years ago, and many other carriers around the world. The fact is that a good company like Apple does things systematically, and is not concerned about leaving money on the table. Earning every possible dollar is rarely the motive of truly successful companies.
post #5 of 46
Apple to TMobile: F*** you.
post #6 of 46
T-Mobile's looking pretty dang pathetic right now, eh?

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post #7 of 46
Couple of points here:

#1
Provided C-Spire keeps their existing rate plans, which is often not the case with iPhone, of $50'ish/month with unlimited data and messaging this could provide some limited threat to the big guys (AT&T, Verizon, & Sprint) who's plans run close to double (or more) compared to C-Spire.


#2
With C-Spire coming on board this opens the doors to other smaller guys like MetroPCS who has a $40'ish unlimited plan, Virgin Mobile, AllTel, Etc.
post #8 of 46
Guess now it's only a matter of time before Verizon or ATT try and buy them!\
post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

I'm not an engineer, but how difficult/expensive would it be for Apple to add the T-Mobile USA frequency to the iPhone? You'd think they were leaving money on the table.

Definitely. iPhone 4S actually supports 2100MHz (it is one of AT&T frequencies), all is missing is 1700MHz. How hard could it be? Looks like somebody at Apple does a favor for AT&T (who wants slow CDMA/EV-DO?).
post #10 of 46
I'm not sure I buy this one. Apple had to make two sets of phones to cover Verizon and Sprint. I just can't see them making yet another for this company, then another and another.

Now if there was a way to make a single CDMA phone that could be programmed at the time of purchase for which ever carrier, then I might believe this. Perhaps that is something they are working on for the next one. Heck maybe they are trying to get down to one phone lineup in general.

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post #11 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Apple had to make two sets of phones to cover Verizon and Sprint.

There's one iPhone 4S.

Originally posted by Relic

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Originally posted by Relic

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post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by TitanTiger View Post

Apple to TMobile: F*** you.

I doubt it is that extreme. DTK has shown that they want out of the US and intend to sell off that part of the company to someone or perhaps just shutter it. From a business standpoint it makes little sense to make a deal with the company and go to the fuss of supporting their different chipset etc if they are going to get folded into someone else in six months. So Apple waits to see what happens and then when the sale to AT&T bombs, the Sprint one etc does also, then they talk. Heck they might be talking now about the LTE lineup but we aren't being told like always

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post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

… There's one iPhone 4S.

Each carrier has its own set of skus for the six models. They are identical in hardware but had to be preset for each carrier at the factory. Same with the 8gb iPhone 4. And when they release the officially unlocked GSM phones that is another six skus that are the same but with no sim card.

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post #14 of 46
Hm...someone completely MISSED T-Mobile. Apparently they're not a large enough company.

And who the hell is C-WIRELESS?
post #15 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

They are identical in hardware but had to be preset for each carrier at the factory.

But only time will tell if that can't be undone.

Originally posted by Relic

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post #16 of 46
This is the listed coverage area for CSpire from Wikipedia. They show a national coverage map on their website, but it's reasonably spotty, esp around the Rockies.


Memphis metropolitan area
Mississippi
Alabama
Florida Panhandle
Rome, Georgia

It also mentions them owning 700MHz airspace in a couple of other states, but not currently licensed for them yet.

What I want to know is who the fuck at T Mobile pissed off Apple so much that they would skip them like this? I can imagine Apple doesn't want to get entangled w/the pending purchase from AT&T, but still...


CSpire serves 900k, T Mobile has 33M customers.
post #17 of 46
Why did they wait so long to announce?

I had made my mind up that I was leaving ATT. Cspire could have had my business. But, I reluctantly chose Verizon when cspire didn't appear to be getting the phone. I have a lucrative account (3 iPhone plans).

Well, I'm still within my remorse period. If they can sweeten the pot enough, I'll still switch.
post #18 of 46
Cspire has a contract with Verizon to use their towers to fill in the areas where they don't have service. Because of this, Cspire told me their coverage is as good as (or better) than Verizon's because the contract does not enable Verizon to use Cspire's.
post #19 of 46
C-Spire is a regional carrier, but they piggyback on Verizon's network for nationwide coverage for no extra charge to the customer.
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by backdoc View Post

Well, I'm still within my remorse period. If they can sweeten the pot enough, I'll still switch.

The sweetness would be that their rate is so much less compared to AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint.

If MetroPCS (Los Angeles) get's it then I'm out of AT&T for sure. Even if AT&T has a higher speed data.
post #21 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

This is the listed coverage area for CSpire from Wikipedia. They show a national coverage map on their website, but it's reasonably spotty, esp around the Rockies.


Memphis metropolitan area
Mississippi
Alabama
Florida Panhandle
Rome, Georgia

It also mentions them owning 700MHz airspace in a couple of other states, but not currently licensed for them yet.

What I want to know is who the fuck at T Mobile pissed off Apple so much that they would skip them like this? I can imagine Apple doesn't want to get entangled w/the pending purchase from AT&T, but still...


CSpire serves 900k, T Mobile has 33M customers.

I'm sure its more complicated than that. Sasktel, a regional carrier where I live, got the Phone last year, even though many other's don't. Windmobile is in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, etc. and has only slightly less users for instance.
post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post

I'm sure its more complicated than that. Sasktel, a regional carrier where I live, got the Phone last year, even though many other's don't. Windmobile is in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, etc. and has only slightly less users for instance.

Yeah I have a theory about it all. Remember how Apple was trying to get those Motorola suits put aside b/.c w/the terms of their purchase by Google they can't defend their patents and Google can't yet make the needed decisions? I wonder if something similar is happening w/T Mobile. "We'd love to have the iPhone, but we're being bought by AT&T so we can't sign new contracts like that" isn't exactly a statement the CEO wants to ever have to make to the participants.

No clue if that is the case, but it would certainly answer the why of this case.
post #23 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSquirrel View Post

This is the listed coverage area for CSpire from Wikipedia. They show a national coverage map on their website, but it's reasonably spotty, esp around the Rockies.


Memphis metropolitan area
Mississippi
Alabama
Florida Panhandle
Rome, Georgia

Question is will CSpire let people who are NOT in those area's sign up. I'm sure they would like the extra customers however since those new customers wouldn't be in the area's then the voice/data usage would be 100% OFF C-Spire's network so it might not be cost effective for them.
post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

I'm not an engineer, but how difficult/expensive would it be for Apple to add the T-Mobile USA frequency to the iPhone? You'd think they were leaving money on the table.

I bet the limitation is physical. Because T-Mobile operates at a higher frequency, the antenna design on the iPhone would have to be adjusted, which would compromise it's performance at lower frequencies. And put simply, Apple doesn't want to do that.
post #25 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Rick_V_ View Post

I bet the limitation is physical. Because T-Mobile operates at a higher frequency, the antenna design on the iPhone would have to be adjusted, which would compromise it's performance at lower frequencies. And put simply, Apple doesn't want to do that.

Maybe they could add a third, internal antenna for those frequencies.

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John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #26 of 46
Looking at the FCC data for the iPhone I can't tell what UMTS bands it has outside of II (1900MHz) and V (850MHz). Last year the FCC listed the baseband as having 5 UMTS bands.
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post #27 of 46
C Spire prices are attractive , but the below Important Information is well Important

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

Customers participating in this service must reside in the C Spire Network, which is defined as MS and generally in and surrounding Memphis/West Memphis, AR/nearby West TN, Mobile and Baldwin Counties in AL, and Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton Counties in FL.

Customers are required to use 50% of their voice and data usage within the C Spire network. The C Spire network is defined as the C Spire CDMA network in MS in Memphis/nearby West TN and West Memphis, AR, Mobile/Baldwin Counties in AL and Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton Counties in FL.

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post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyMc7 View Post

Couple of points here:

#1
Provided C-Spire keeps their existing rate plans, which is often not the case with iPhone, of $50'ish/month with unlimited data and messaging this could provide some limited threat to the big guys (AT&T, Verizon, & Sprint) who's plans run close to double (or more) compared to C-Spire.


#2
With C-Spire coming on board this opens the doors to other smaller guys like MetroPCS who has a $40'ish unlimited plan, Virgin Mobile, AllTel, Etc.

Well, I can already tell you: C-Spire's current rate plans are a little bit of a bait-and-switch. You're right, the $50 individual plan for 500 voice minutes + "infinite" messaging + "infinite" data sounds great, until you realize that C-Spire does not include streaming media in their data service. So any Pandora, Netflix, etc. that you might use on your device fall under an additional "streaming" plan.

Which is metered by the HOUR.

It's $5 for 2 hours of streaming, $10 for 5 hours, and $30 for unlimited. Now this rate applies whether you're watching an HD stream from Netflix or a low-bit-rate audio feed via your streaming radio app of choice. It's all by the hour. If you sign up before 10/29 you can get grandfathered in and avoid the hourly charges but I guarantee the iPhone will not be available until after that deadline has sailed by. It's a dumb pricing structure and one that I hope dies a quick death. I think C-Spire, and other smaller carriers, know that they're caught in a trap: they need the iPhone and the subscribers it brings but they know their networks aren't up to the task. I'd be wary, personally.

EDIT: Oh yeah, doesn't include tethering either.
post #29 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by _Rick_V_ View Post

I bet the limitation is physical. Because T-Mobile operates at a higher frequency, the antenna design on the iPhone would have to be adjusted, which would compromise it's performance at lower frequencies. And put simply, Apple doesn't want to do that.

Sure didn't stop the new Google phone Galaxy Nexus which has support for all 5 frequencies which HSPA+ and LTE.
post #30 of 46
How long before Apple and Google each get into the wireless services?

Someone mentioned that Apple was "leaving money on the table" by not including T-mobile...

I predict one of them (Apple or Google) will force the hand of the other and eventually bid for a wireless carrier. All that profit they make for the telecoms will start to look really attractive at some point.

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post #31 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

T-Mobile's looking pretty dang pathetic right now, eh?

We are going to see a big 5 networks now?

Just kidding

Apple the kingmaker
post #32 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by backdoc View Post

Why did they wait so long to announce?

I had made my mind up that I was leaving ATT. Cspire could have had my business. But, I reluctantly chose Verizon when cspire didn't appear to be getting the phone. I have a lucrative account (3 iPhone plans).

Well, I'm still within my remorse period. If they can sweeten the pot enough, I'll still switch.

Oh man, they totally called you and tried to leave you a message, but it must have gotten lost! They're so totally sorry they messed you up!
post #33 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Maybe they could add a third, internal antenna for those frequencies.

They could put it in the gigantic, antenna shaped empty place inside the iPhone!
post #34 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

How long before Apple and Google each get into the wireless services?

Someone mentioned that Apple was "leaving money on the table" by not including T-mobile...

I predict one of them (Apple or Google) will force the hand of the other and eventually bid for a wireless carrier. All that profit they make for the telecoms will start to look really attractive at some point.

Hopefully (for the shareholders) forever. Because wireless would be a terrible business for Apple.

What about Apple makes you think they'd like to get into a commodity business like that? They LOVE letting the utliities make tiny profits while they resell the result for huge profits. Why would Apple want to shoot themselves (in the head)?
post #35 of 46
This T-Mobile issue has always made me chuckle because of the jail breakers crowing about how they use their ATT iPhones on the T-Mobile network. With them it's not about performance, it's just about thumping their chests and bragging.
post #36 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Hopefully (for the shareholders) forever. Because wireless would be a terrible business for Apple.

What about Apple makes you think they'd like to get into a commodity business like that? They LOVE letting the utliities make tiny profits while they resell the result for huge profits. Why would Apple want to shoot themselves (in the head)?

Because then they'll have the full control of what to include and what not to include on their network So in the end, they get more profit. And that's really all the shareholders care about, anyway.
post #37 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalMacRat View Post

Sure didn't stop the new Google phone Galaxy Nexus which has support for all 5 frequencies which HSPA+ and LTE.

Galaxy Nexus is GSM/UMTS with 14.4/5.76 HSPA and 21 HSPA+ -OR- CDMA/LTE. It is not a world phone like the iPhone. It also doesn't work on T-Mobile, and the GSM version is only available locked in Japan. In the US it is exclusive to Verizon.

Most phones on T-Mobile are specific to T-Mobile. The reason Apple isn't showing any interest in building T-Mobile AWS support into its global iPhone 4S is because, first of all, if Apple had the resources to add AWS support, it would do so for LTE service on Verizon, not for the pissant number of smartphone users on T-Mobile.

Secondly, T-Mobile's 3G/HSPA+ service is about to go away and become part of AT&T's LTE, rendering a T-Mobile-specific iPhone useless. Even if the merger is blocked, T-Mobile's owners have no interest in building it into a viable 4th network because it isn't viable as a company.

--

In general, when Apple releases a phone, it usually outs all the important details and hides the bs that isn't relevant. When Google/Samsung release devices, they spew a bunch of bullshit about Ghz and installed RAM and say things like "LTE/HSPA+!!" without actually revealing that no, it doesn't do that across carriers. (although Apple sort of pulled a fast one this time talking up 14.4 HSPA on iPhone 4S without clarifying that wasn't relevant to CDMA carriers).

This allows Android proponents to pick the best features of the expensive models and generalize about them being available across the Android platform when really they are not. So while there are global/high end Android phones and TMobile Android phone and profitable/popular Android phones, there are not any combinations of those things. Pick one!

With iPhone 4S, you can pick two, just not the TMobile part. Because that option will only be around for a year or so.
post #38 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

Galaxy Nexus is GSM/UMTS with 14.4/5.76 HSPA and 21 HSPA+ -OR- CDMA/LTE. It is not a world phone like the iPhone. It also doesn't work on T-Mobile, and the GSM version is only available locked in Japan. In the US it is exclusive to Verizon.

Even if the Galaxy Nexus was a world mode phone supporting all UMTS bands, including AWS, with CDMA and LTE it's not a good comparison when you compare the internal space between these phones. I'm surprised the iPhone 4S has as much as it has in such a small design.
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post #39 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartfat View Post

Because then they'll have the full control of what to include and what not to include on their network So in the end, they get more profit. And that's really all the shareholders care about, anyway.

If only that was true. The small additional profit they would be able to make after many long years of HUGE capital expenses would be offset as far as the market is concerned by the incredibly low profit margins. ATT trades at a P/S of less than 2. Apple trades at more than double ATT's. The cell phone business would be TERRIBLe for Apple. Thankfully everyone running Apple knows how bad of an idea it would be, and I'm sure would laugh it off just as most people here do.

Plus, you're suggesting that Apple would run a less profitable network than ATT does, by allowing users to do things on that network that they can't on the big 4. Hilarious.
post #40 of 46
I live within the C-Spire (formally Cellular South) network. Having been a previous customer for two years I can say from experience that they are a nightmare of a carrier. I now have AT&T and it is a DREAM compared to C-Spire.

In all fairness, their coverage is great (because it's really Verizon)

Everything else, however, was horrible.
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