U.S. Cellular doesn’t really seem like a major player in the U.S. cellphone market if you live in an urban area. However, when you travel out to cornfields in the middle of no-where, U.S. Cellular is like AT&T or Verizon. They’re a small carrier that covers nearly every single acre of arable land in the United States, and they supposedly denied the iPhone due to the up-front cost.
Sprint was rumored to pay a few billion dollars to reserve a lot of iPhones, a bet that #3 viewed as a great oppurtunity. So far, it looks like their bet is paying off. The company hit a one-day sales record on October 14 (coincidentally, this was the same day the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 launched on Sprint’s network). However this is one bet #6 had to turn down (sadly).
U.S. Cellular is known to not put all their hope on one platform. The cell company barely sells any name brand phones, let alone smart-phones. The folks at Apple realized this, but they were willing to give US Cellular a shot. Unfortunately the offer required a lot of upfront money, like Sprint’s deal.
In fact, even though it may seem like any carrier would kill to jump on the iPhone bandwagon, US Cellular isn’t the only cell provider to pass on the Apple handset. As great as the iPhone is, it does present some problems due to Apple not permitting branding logos on the front of the device, preventing bloatware from being installed on the device, and the addition of carrier specific features, like visual voicemail. However with the success that Sprint is having with the iPhone, perhaps U.S. Cellular might be willing to reconsider for the iPhone 5 (or 6).
Do you guys think we will see future iPhones becoming spread across a larger number of carriers, or will it be limited to the major players and a couple minor risk-takers?