U.S. Cellular Turned Down iPhone over 'Unacceptable' Terms from Apple
FierceWireless reports on comments from U.S. Cellular CEO Mary Dillon, who claims that the mobile phone carrier turned down a proposed deal to offer the iPhone because it considered Apple's terms to be "unacceptable". The decision is not final, however, and U.S. Cellular could offer the iPhone at some point in the future if a deal can be struck.
U.S. Cellular turned down Apple's iPhone because it did not make sense for the company economically, CEO Mary Dillon said on the company's third-quarter earnings conference call.
Dillon said that the carrier had the opportunity to sell the iPhone but that Apple's "terms were unacceptable from a risk and profitability standpoint." Dillon added that the potential strain on the company's network was not a factor in the decision, and that U.S. Cellular remains open to carrying the iPhone in the future.
U.S. Cellular, headquartered in Chicago, is the sixth-largest mobile phone company in the United States with over 6 million subscribers. Behind the top tier of Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile USA lies a group of so-called "super-regional" carriers led by MetroPCS, U.S. Cellular, and Cricket. Interest in the possibility of these super-regional carriers being able to offer the iPhone was sparked by last month's announcement from C Spire Wireless that it had landed a deal for the iPhone. C Spire ranks at the lower end of the super-regional group, with under a million customers on its network.
Earlier this week, the Czech arm of Telefonica/O2 announced that it would be dropping the iPhone entirely after it was unable to reach a deal with Apple for the iPhone 4S. The company cited Apple's "business terms" as the reason for the discontinuation, and U.S. Cellular's disclosure today adds further evidence that some carriers simply don't see the economic advantage to offering the iPhone even as other carriers are working hard to land the device.