May 5, 2013
Apple Products Will Soon Be Sold By US Cellular
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
The sixth-largest wireless service provider in America has announced that they plan to begin carrying Apple-branded products prior to the end of the year, various media outlets have reported.US Cellular made the announcement Friday as part of their quarterly earnings report, according to AppleInsider. No specific products were mentioned, but it is assumed that the Chicago-based telecom company will provide service for iPhone and cellular-capable models of the iPad tablet computer.
“We have a number of strategies in progress to increase loyalty and attract more customers, including our announcement today that we will begin offering Apple products later this year,” US Cellular Chief Executive Mary Dillon said in a statement.
“By further strengthening our device portfolio, we'll give consumers another great reason to switch to US Cellular, and enable our existing customers to choose from an even wider variety of iconic smartphones, and enjoy the outstanding US Cellular customer experiences they deserve,” she added.
According to AppleInsider, the move is “a dramatic reversal” for Dillon, who told analysts two years ago that the company had decided not to hop onboard the Apple bandwagon due to the upfront expense required.
At the time, she said it was an “unacceptable” investment from a profit and risk standpoint, and officials at US Cellular´s parent company Telephone & Data Systems Inc. (TDA) said that the service provider wanted to expand their 4G LTE service before attempting to service the iPhone.
Now, however, the company is looking to rebound after losing subscribers in what Thomas Gryta of the Wall Street Journal refers to as “fierce competition in a saturated industry driven“¦ with little customer turnover.”
Gryta said that US Cellular´s income had fallen 92 percent for the first quarter, and that TDS experienced a 97 percent decrease in first-quarter profits, due largely to increased expenses. US Cellular said that they had signed a deal with Apple to purchase approximately $1.2 billion worth of iPhones over a three-year period beginning later on in 2013, he added. Precise timing and pricing were not disclosed.
Dillon told the Wall Street Journal that the company was “confident and comfortable” with the terms of the agreement, noting that approximately 43 percent of the company´s core market customers were smartphone users. She said that the company was aware that there was consumer demand for the iPhone, and Drexel Hamilton analyst Barry Sine told Gryta that the announcement was a “very positive development.”
US Cellular becomes the latest telecom firm to come to terms with Apple over the past year. According to UPI, that list includes Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, Cricket Wireless, and Walmart´s Straight Talk plan. Furthermore, the news agency said that analysts are speculating that two other big-name providers, MetroPCS and Boost Mobile, may soon be joining the ranks as well.