nTelos Wireless, Alaska Communications to launch iPhone 4S April 20

Regional carriers nTelos Wireless and Alaska Communications confirmed they will be the fifth and sixth U.S. carriers to officially offer Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. They will launch the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 April 20.

nTelos iPhone

nTelos is advertising the iPhone on its website.

NTelos and Alaska Communications said they will sell the iPhone 4S for $149.99 for the 16 GB model, $249.99 for the 32 GB model and $349.99 for the 64GB model. The carriers also said the iPhone 4 will be available for $49.99. The prices nTelos and Alaska Communications will charge for the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 are $50 cheaper than what Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) charge for the same models. Regional carrier C Spire Wireless also offers the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 at similar prices to those of nTelos and Alaska Communications.

The iPhones at nTelos will require a two-year contract, and the company offers a smartphone plan starting at $79.99 for 600 voice monthly voice minutes and unlimited texting and data. Its $99.99 plan offers unlimited voice, texting and data. However, nTelos said that customers' data speeds will be throttled back once they use 5 GB.

Alaska Communications will also offer the iPhone with a two-year contract, and its plans for the iPhone will range from $80 to $101 per month. The carrier's Nationwide Individual Unlimited Talk and Text plan offer unlimited voice and texting and 5 GB of data for $101 per month. Alaska Communications is the dominant wireless carrier in Alaska and plans to be the first carrier to offer LTE there. 

In an interview with FierceWireless, nTelos CEO Jim Hyde declined to discuss the specifics of the carrier's deal with Apple, but confirmed it was a multi-year distribution agreement. He called the addition of the iPhone a "monumental" moment for the company, and said nTelos customers "are going to have an unlimited, uncompromised, value alternative without having to sacrifice being able to have the most iconic device anywhere."

NTelos operates a CDMA EV-DO Rev. A network on its 1900 MHz spectrum and counts more than 400,000 retail subscribers based in Virginia, West Virginia and portions of Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky. The carrier's licensed territories have a total population of approximately 8 million POPs, of which its wireless network covers approximately 5.9 million POPs. NTelos is also the exclusive wholesale provider of network services to Sprint in the western Virginia and West Virginia portions of its territories for all Sprint CDMA wireless customers.

Hyde said nTelos has roaming agreements with all of the major CDMA carriers in the United States, but that because nTelos provides network service to Sprint, it has a "very favorable" national roaming deal with Sprint. He said the roaming deals, and with Sprint in particular, allow the carrier to offer a compelling value proposition.

C Spire became the first non-Tier 1 carrier to offer the iPhone in November. Around the same time, U.S. Cellular confirmed that it was offered the chance to sell the iPhone but chose not to do so because it did not make economic sense for the company.

However, Hyde said the addition of the iPhone would benefit nTelos financially by spurring more smartphone adoption and leading to higher average revenues per user. He said nTelos has been improving its retail business and that this was the next step for the company. "We modeled this thing very extensively in terms of accelerated smartphone penetration and market share," he said. "We are very comfortable with where we landed with Apple."

T-Mobile USA remains the only major postpaid wireless carrier that doesn't offer the iPhone, which the company has said is largely due to the fact that Apple's devices currently don't support its 3G network, which works on AWS spectrum.

For more:
- see this nTelos release
- see this Alaska Communications release

Related Articles:
Analyst: Apple's iPhone outpaces competition at AT&T, Verizon and Sprint
U.S. Cellular: We'll wait for an LTE iPhone
U.S. Cellular: We said no to Apple's iPhone
C Spire to sell Apple's iPhone 4S Nov. 11

Article updated April 4 with additional information from nTelos.

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