You would think the fourth U.S. iPhone 4S carrier would be T-Mobile. But, because of network incompatibility, it's not. It's actually C Spire Wireless, formerly known as Cellular South, a CDMA regional carrier that most people probably haven't heard of unless you happen to live in Mississippi or parts of Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.
It's not surprising that Apple is starting to push the iPhone toward regional carriers now that the exclusive deal with AT&T is a distant memory. As stated during Tuesday's earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said he wanted to get the iPhone 4S out to as many people as possible, even though the question of carrier expansion was deferred. Cook said that the smartphone market would eventually absorb the handset market, and the best way to do that would be to expand to these smaller carriers.
Which regional carrier could we see the iPhone with next in the U.S.? My theory is that it's Cricket, a CDMA carrier owned by Leap Wireless, which I became familiar with when I was in Arizona. The company began expanding its network in 2010 and added nationwide 3G data roaming a year ago today. I wouldn't be surprised if we eventually saw the iPhone 4S land with these guys. Who would you like to see acquire the iPhone?