updated 07:30 pm EST, Mon December 5, 2011
US Cellular next among carriers open to 4G iPhone
The chief for US Cellular's parent, TDS, hinted in a presentation at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference on Monday that US Cellular would be open to an LTE iPhone. It was "never going to say never" about Apple's device, but the carrier wanted the device on its newest network before considering. Its LTE network goes live in early 2012 and will already be at half coverage of its regional-sized network by the end of 2012.
"The iPhone for us would need to be at the cutting edge of where we're going, and then there might be an opportunity to consider it," Carlson said in a codeword for LTE.
The CEO's comments have come with what appears to be an increasing pattern of carriers holding out for an LTE iPhone before joining in. The most public instance has been China Mobile's talks with Apple, where it hopes to come onboard. Sprint has alluded to mid-2012 LTE phone timing that would line up with Apple's summer update schedule. Japan's NTT DoCoMo is rumored to have struck an LTE iPhone 5 deal, but the company has since responded that it hasn't reached a deal.
Apple itself is thought to be waiting on cellular chipsets that build 4G, 3G, and other communications into one core part instead of the two needed today, greatly improving the battery life and reducing the size. [via FierceWireless]