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US Cellular waiting for Apple to release LTE iPhone

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
U.S. Cellular has indicated that it is waiting for a "cutting edge" LTE iPhone before making a decision on whether to begin carrying Apple's smartphones.

Ted Carlson, CEO of U.S. Cellular parent company TDS, revealed at the UBS GLobal Media and Communications Conference the carrier is currently more focused on building out its 4G LTE service than offering the iPhone, according to a report from FierceWireless.

"We're never going to say never about the iPhone," he said. "The iPhone for us would need to be at the cutting edge of where we're going, and then there might be an opportunity to consider it."

Carlson went on to say that the top priorities of the sixth-largest carrier in the U.S are to first launch LTE, secure LTE device partnerships and then convert customers over to LTE data plans. According to the report, the company expects to bring LTE coverage to 25 percent of its 26-state footprint by the end of this year, with its first LTE smartphone and tablet arriving in the first quarter of 2012.

By the end of next year, U.S. Cellular, which has around six million subscribers, plans to reach a total of 50 percent of its footprint. Full LTE coverage will take three years to complete, said TDS CFO Ken Meyers.

Finances have also played a role in preventing U.S. Cellular from picking up the iPhone. Chief Executive Mary Dillon said last month during a quarterly earnings call that the carrier had decided not to partner with Apple yet because the upfront expense was "unacceptable from a risk and profitability standpoint."

In the U.S., Apple's iPhone is currently available on the three-largest wireless operators: AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint. Fourth-place T-Mobile has yet to offer the iPhone, but its fate is currently uncertain as AT&T attempts to convince regulators to approve a $39 billion merger. Regional carrier C Spire also began offering the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S last month.

AppleInsider recently published results from a series of tests of the iPhone 4S on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. The tests showed that AT&T has a data speed advantage, while Verizon proved to be more reliable. Sprint's data service was "more often than not unusable," though the carrier does earn points for being the last U.S. iPhone carrier to offer an unlimited data plan.



Consumer Reports released the results of its annual survey of U.S. carriers on Tuesday, with U.S. Cellular receiving higher marks than its larger competitors.

Our survey indicates that subscribers to prepaid and smaller standard-service providers are happiest overall with their cell-phone service, said Paul Reynolds, the publication's electronics editor. However, these carriers arent for everyone. Some are only regional, and prepaid carriers tend to offer few or no smart phones.The major carriers are still leading options for many consumers, and we found they ranged widely in how well they satisfied their customers.

Among the four major carriers, Verizon took top honors, with Sprint not far behind. T-Mobile ranked third with "significantly better" results than last-place AT&T. AT&T also received poor ratings last year, with the carrier's respondents, many of whom were iPhone users, giving it the worst-possible score in all categories except "texting."

Apple is believed to be preparing LTE versions of its iPad and iPhone devices for release in 2012. Some reports claimed Apple had eyed a 2011 release of an LTE-capable iPhone before deciding to push its timeline back into at least next year. Last week, a Japanese newspaper reported that local carrier NTT DoCoMo was in talks with Apple to release an LTE-equipped iPad next summer followed by an LTE iPhone in the fall, but the carrier quickly denied the report, stating that there is "no basic agreement" with Apple.

In April, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, then the company's chief operating officer, indicated that the first generation of LTE chipsets had required too many "design compromises" that Apple was unwilling to make.
post #2 of 18
As I've been predicting for 4 years now: 2012 would be the earliest.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #3 of 18
"It's not high-tech enough for us," translates to "We're too cheap to pay to get it. Screw you, customers."

Like flipping fun LTE has anything to do with anything. They have zero real coverage and no substantial LTE plans.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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post #4 of 18
I, for one, am surprised to hear US Cellular is still around. What are their LTE plans? After statements from their CEO like those referring to the iPhone and a failure to deliver on promises of network upgrades they may be left fighting other pre/post paid carriers on the shelves at Walmart and 7-11.
post #5 of 18
"US Cellular waiting for Apple to release LTE iPhone"

Reckon we all are...
post #6 of 18
US Cellular? Assuming they still exist, does anyone think Apple seriously cares?
post #7 of 18
Who cares about the sixth largest carrier in the US?

Meanwhile, people all across the globe are snapping up iPhones as fast as they can.
post #8 of 18
Some things we know about this unknown carrier

They are the sixth largest carrier behind Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Metro PCS.
THe have about 6.1 million customers in 126 markets in 26 U.S. states..

That's not too bad, and when you look at the typical iPhone saturation among cellular companies the iPhone is high in that list. So why didn't they take the deal for the iPhone 4S? Because they couldn't afford it. They already lost money last quarter so there isn't a smart play here to try to trick Apple into lowering their price enough so that they get a huge profit from the deal. I think they literally were going to lose money with the iPHone had they struck deal. Once the iPhone 4S demand settles US Cellular might be able to strike up another deal as the cost for the device will be more negotiable.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #9 of 18
SWAT!

Wow that was a big bug. Oops that was us cellular. Ho hum. Theres other carriers out there. Hey look theres AT&T. Hey they have the iPhone 4S. Guess I am gonna get one there.
An Apple man since 1977
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #10 of 18
US Cellular waiting for same thing everyone else is.

I would hate to think that US Cellulars earnings suffer because of their bad decision.
post #11 of 18
US Cellular is not "cutting-edge" enough to carry the iPhone
I've accomplished my childhood's dream: My job consists mainly of playing with toys all day long.
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I've accomplished my childhood's dream: My job consists mainly of playing with toys all day long.
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post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Some things we know about this unknown carrier

They are the sixth largest carrier behind Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Metro PCS.
THe have about 6.1 million customers in 126 markets in 26 U.S. states..

That's not too bad, and when you look at the typical iPhone saturation among cellular companies the iPhone is high in that list. So why didn't they take the deal for the iPhone 4S? Because they couldn't afford it. They already lost money last quarter so there isn't a smart play here to try to trick Apple into lowering their price enough so that they get a huge profit from the deal. I think they literally were going to lose money with the iPHone had they struck deal. Once the iPhone 4S demand settles US Cellular might be able to strike up another deal as the cost for the device will be more negotiable.

I disagree. The cost of providing the iPhone is too high, but it's not the outright cost that's the problem, it's the opportunity cost. They can almost certainly afford to buy all of the iPhones that Apple would require, but if they're focused on building out and promoting an LTE network, they need to begin investing heavily in handsets that will use that network. While their budget may be able support the iPhone, it may not have enough room for the iPhone and whatever 4G phones or tablets they want to promote. If they're making the choice between two 4G devices and one 3G device while they're in the process of rolling out an LTE network, it's fairly obvious where they have to spend their money.
post #13 of 18
US Cellular has 4G coverage in 6 markets (not major markets either, mind you) and they're waiting on Apple?
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

SWAT!

Wow that was a big bug. Oops that was us cellular. Ho hum. Theres other carriers out there. Hey look theres AT&T. Hey they have the iPhone 4S. Guess I am gonna get one there.

You may think this carrier unimportant but if you lived in Maine you'd feel differently. Most of the state is only covered by US Cellular. Southern areas have all of the big providers but most of us have only one option.

The idea that they might offer iPhone ever is surprising to me. They always remain behind the curve and let other carriers debug devices before they jump in. Usually they are 6 months late to market for any product, compared to the big guys.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Chief Executive Mary Dillon said last month during a quarterly earnings call that the carrier had decided not to partner with Apple yet because the upfront expense was "unacceptable from a risk and profitability standpoint."

Apparently Apple is a pretty tough negotiator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In April, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, then the company's chief operating officer, indicated that the first generation of LTE chipsets had required too many "design compromises" that Apple was unwilling to make.

Not ready for prime time. Let the early adopters deal with spotty coverage and poor battery life.

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Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

Apparently Apple is a pretty tough negotiator.



Not ready for prime time. Let the early adopters deal with spotty coverage and poor battery life.

I don't see LTE being a demand service for most subscribers until it can be offered with a reasonable data cap of 12-14 Gb at $40/mo. Otherwise, 1 HD movie would eat your entire 2Gb limit. The current 4g pricing model is not feasible for most users. What's the point of getting a photo 15 seconds faster? That's worth an extra $20/mo?
post #17 of 18
What a hoot! They makes it sound like Apple is begging them to carry the 4S, and they are saying: "Hmmm, we're just not sure it's good enough for us yet. Come back when you have 4G." LMFAO
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #18 of 18
This is a sign that USC is losing customers, like me, who are sick of waiting for the iPhone. I'm going to switch to Verizon or Sprint.

They're trying to stem the flood.
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