Maybe Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) just liked the new name better. C Spire, the regional U.S. carrier known as Cellular South until a few weeks ago, will become the fourth U.S. carrier to sell the iPhone 4S to its customers over the coming weeks, it announced Tuesday.
C Spire put Apple’s iPhone 4S front and center on its new Web page Tuesday, borrowing marketing materials from Apple’s site and urging customers to sign up to receive more information when it becomes available. The company confirmed the move in a press release but provided no additional details, such as when the phone would become available or the price at which it would be offered.
Smaller carriers in the U.S. have had a lot of trouble keeping up with their bigger rivals over the past few years due to the tendency for handset makers to approach the largest carriers first with their devices, as to try and target the most volume at launch. But Apple doesn’t have a volume issue with the iPhone anymore, and has reached out to both Verizon, Sprint (NYSE: S), and now C Spire in 2011 to carry its flagship product as it looks to target a bigger and bigger audience.
The iPhone 4S could give C Spire a nice boost, as it will prevent some of the company’s roughly 1 million subscribers from defecting to larger carriers in hopes of joining the iPhone parade. C Spire also offers Android phones such as the Galaxy S and Windows Phone 7 devices like the HTC Pro, but the iPhone 4S will easily become the best device in its arsenal and should also increase mobile-data usage on its network.
T-Mobile remains the most prominent U.S. carrier sitting on the sidelines while everyone else plays with the iPhone. T-Mobile has doubled down on Android during its years without the iPhone, but clearly would love to offer its customers the device.