Cellcom, nTelos, C Spire, GCI, Cricket Communications, and Appalachian Wireless will begin selling the device on Friday, September 28. (Photo : RCR Wireless)
Planning on nabbing the iPhone 5? It's coming out soon, as early as September 21, and will be tough to get your hands on thanks to extremely high anticipation. If you're willing to dirty elbows with your fellow Apple fans, then one of the biggest questions for you might be when your wireless service provider will offer it to you and for how much.
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Pricewise, the iPhone 5 shouldn't be much different than previous iPhone iterations. Rumors circulated via Twitter that it would cost as much as $800, and it probably will - without a standard two-year contract. An unlocked iPhone 4S can run just much, or more. More likely than not, the iPhone 5 will begin at $199 with a two-year contract across all carriers, just like the iPhone 4S and rival Samsung's Galaxy S3 smartphone. The only exception might be a carrier, like T-Mobile when the Galaxy S3 launched, that might promise quicker and more steady shipments of the handset for a higher price.
In terms of who's getting the iPhone 5 in the United States in 2012, it will almost definitely be three of the big four: AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint.
The iPhone launched as an AT&T exclusive, so expect AT&T to certainly receive a huge shipment on the initial release date. An AT&T source told BGR that they should start selling the iPhone 5 in the third or fourth week of September. Another source indicated that a huge regional training event for AT&T employees was put on hold for a "big announcement." There's no doubt AT&T will be at the iPhone 5 frontlines in September and October.
Verizon received its first iPhone, the iPhone 4, in early 2011, around eight months after AT&T had launched the iPhone 4. It did get the iPhone 4S in the initial October launch phase, which shows that Apple is probably on board now to letting Verizon in on the initial launch of an iPhone. The iPhone 5 should come out on Verizon at the same time as AT&T, most likely late September.
Sprint joined the iPhone party last year when it began carrying the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S in October. It was also part of the iPhone 4S initial release, and it most likely will be part of the iPhone 5's as well. Sprint has also been offering a $50 discount on iPhone 4S and throwing in a $100 gift card when you start a new line with them and activate your iPhone 4S. More likely than not, they know that Sprint customers will only want the iPhone 5 once it's out, and are clearing warehouse and shelf space. Sprint should see the iPhone 5 at the same time as Verizon and AT&T.
Sorry T-Mobile customers, it doesn't look like there's any good news in sight. You can use an unlocked iPhone 4S with T-Mobile here in the United States, but the carrier doesn't officially offer the device, and it doesn't look like any progress has been made. If anything, T-Mobile might see the iPhone 5 in 2013, and if an agreement isn't reached between them and Apple, T-Mobile users will simply have to wait until Apple sells unlocked iPhone 5s here in the United States.
Other wireless carriers do offer iPhones, but they probably won't see the iPhone 5 until demand is met by the larger carriers.