U.S. Cellular is the sixth largest wireless service provider in the U.S. and it announced last week that it would start later this year to carry products made by Apple.
The company’s announcement was part of the earnings report for the latest quarter. No specific list of products was given in the prepared statement, but it is presumed that U.S. Cellular would offer Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad.
CEO Mary Dillon of U.S. Cellular in a statement said that a number of strategies were being put in place at the company to attract a new client base and to increase the loyalty of its existing customers, with one of those strategies being the availability of Apple products in U.S. Cellular stores.
The announcement by U.S. Cellular is a big reversal, since the CEO said to analysts in December of 2011 that U.S. Cellular had opted to carry other products and not those of Apple due to the high up front expense with Apple. She said the investment was not acceptable due to a risk and profitability standpoint.
In early 2012, Ted Carlson the CEO of parent company TDS said U.S. Cellular was focusing on building its 4G LTE service prior to trying to selling any products from Apple.
The reversal of policy by U.S. Cellular to now offer Apple products such as the iPhone in order to attract new customers and more loyalty is similar to one by Verizon a few years ago.
The wireless provider said it would not carry Apple products and even had an ad campaign titled “iDont.” However, in 2011 Verizon finally embraced Apple products and added its iPhone 4 to their list of available smartphones.