Cincinnati Bell plans to start carrying Apple’s iPhone 5 this month, which will be the first time the company has offered the popular phone. Why the company’s opted against carrying the iPhone until now vividly illustrates its wireless dilemma: Apple can force carriers to buy a certain number of iPhones, and those carriers must eat the cost of any unsold iPhones. Carriers also typically subsidize the cost of the $600 iPhones, which they sell for about $200.The Cincinnati Enquirer has now confirmed that the carrier will launch the iPhone 5 on August 16, and a source at Cincinnati Bell has informed MacRumors that staff members are now receiving training materials in advance to prepare them to begin selling the device.
The landlocked local market’s size is a challenge for Cincinnati Bell, which must pay other carriers when local customers roam outside its service area, and limits its options. Cincinnati Bell, which does offer a 4G network, continues to evaluate whether upgrading to LTE network speeds that optimize the newest smartphones’ performance is worth the investment.
Device pricing does, however, appear to be higher on Cincinnati Bell than with other carriers, an issue that is not limited to the iPhone. According to training materials, the iPhone 5 will typically be priced at $299.99 after a mail-in rebate on a two-year contract, apparently for the 16 GB model that is generally priced at $199 on-contract at other carriers. For the launch weekend of August 17-18, Cincinnati Bell will be offering a trade-in deal worth an additional $100 off of the price of the iPhone 5 on in-store purchases, although details on which devices qualify for the trade-in offer are unclear.