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Why NTelos Gets the iPhone But T-Mobile Must Wait

Why NTelos Gets the iPhone But T-Mobile Must Wait
Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Apple has a new U.S. carrier partner for the iPhone, and once again, it’s not T-Mobile. Nor is it MetroPCS, Cricket, or any of the large regional operators in the country. Instead it’s NTelos, a carrier with only 400,000 customers in Virginia, West Virginia, and portions of the surrounding states.

Apple isn’t snubbing T-Mobile or other regional operators; it’s merely following the path of least resistance. NTelos’s CDMA 1X and EV-DO use the exact same frequency configurations as the Verizon Wireless and Sprint networks, as does the network run by C Spire, the first small operator to land the iPhone.