Regional Carrier Cites Prestige as Reason to Offer iPhone
GigaOM recently spoke with Pat Riordan, CEO of Wisconsin-based regional carrier Cellcom, about his company's decision to begin offering the iPhone this past April, with Riordan noting that the decision was made primarily for the prestige factor rather a specific attempt to increase the carrier's customer base. The move was essentially a defensive one given the popularity of the device with consumers who were starting to look to other carrier options before Cellcom announced the addition.
“Customers were telling us they were simply going to leave us because we didn’t have the iPhone,” Riordan said. “We know [our] sales had been falling between the end of the year and April, and we think not having the iPhone was the reason.”
Riordan doesn’t think that it will suddenly start raking in hundreds of thousands of new customers because of Apple, though it is giving Cellcom’s current customers a lot of reasons to stay: 75 percent of its iPhone sales were upgrades.
Cellcom and Riordan declined to specify exact iPhone sales numbers, which would be relatively small compared to the major carriers, but Riordan notes that simply offering the iPhone has brought more customers into the carrier's stores, even if they end up purchasing something other than the iPhone.
The report notes that Alaska Communications announced sales of 11,000 iPhones to its customer base of 120,000 people during the second quarter of this year, while fellow Alaskan carrier GCI announced sales of 9,200 iPhones out of 141,000 customers, pointing to continued significant interest in the device.