U.S. Cellular (NYSE:USM) and Sprint (NYSE:S) prepaid brand Boost Mobile confirmed they will begin selling Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5s and 5c models on Nov. 8, becoming the last major U.S. carriers to do so.
Boost Mobile and U.S. Cellular will begin selling the iPhone 5s, along with the 5c, on Nov. 8.
The carriers did not reveal pricing information about the new phones. However, the iPhone 5s sells for $199 for the 16 GB model, $299 for the 32 GB model and $399 for the 64 GB model, all with a two-year contract. The cheaper iPhone 5c sells for $99 for the 16 GB model and $199 for the 32 GB model, on a two-year contract. On a no-contract basis, however, the 5c costs $549 for the 16 GB model and $649 for the 32 GB model.
Leap Wireless' (NASDAQ:LEAP) Cricket, which sells last year's iPhone models, and is in the process of being acquired by AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), indicated earlier this month it would start selling the 5s and 5c on Oct. 25. Cricket has not said how much the phones will cost either.
On Oct. 1 a host of regional carriers--including Appalachian Wireless, Bluegrass Cellular, C Spire, Cellcom, GCI, MTA, Nex-Tech Wireless, nTelos Wireless and Strata--started selling the new iPhone models. Those launches came a few weeks after Tier 1 U.S. carriers got the phones. It is unclear why carriers such as U.S. Cellular and Leap are launching weeks after the regional players, though differing spectrum bands could be a factor.
The most significant debut will be for U.S. Cellular, which in May reversed course and said it would offer the iPhone this year. The company has not previously sold Apple products. U.S. Cellular had said in 2011 that it would not launch the iPhone because it did not make financial sense. The carrier's iPhone launch comes shortly after the carrier unveiled its new shared data plans, and as it works to overcome issues with its billing system.
For Boost, the addition of the 5s and 5c to its lineup will likely help goose Sprint's iPhone sales figures.
Meanwhile, rumors continue to indicate that Apple has reduced its iPhone 5c production, with the latest voice in that chorus coming Friday from NPD DisplaySearch.
According to AllThingsD, the research firm said recent channel checks suggest that Apple has cut iPhone 5c production by 35 percent, while increasing iPhone 5s production by 75 percent. NPD said the cutbacks are mostly due to the 5c's higher-than-expected price.
"Rumors about iPhone 5c being 'cheap' were circulating as early as Q3 2012," NPD analysts Tina Teng and Shawn Lee wrote. "The fact that the iPhone 5c is nearly identical to the iPhone 5--and is not cheap--disappointed some consumers." Many analysts had expected the iPhone 5c to retail for $400 to $500 on an unsubsidized basis, and were shocked that the ultimate price was not lower.
Apple has declined to comment on the rumors, but in the past Apple CEO Tim Cook has urged analyst and investors not to read too much into any one data point.
- see this CNET article
- see this Engadget article
- see this Boost Mobile release
- see this AllThingsD article
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Correction, Oct. 22, 2013: This article incorrectly stated that Boost Mobile sold the iPhone before the introduction of the iPhone 5s and 5c models.