U.S. Cellular to sell 'Apple products' this year

The carrier reveals, rather circumspectly, during its first-quarter earnings report that it "will begin offering Apple products later this year," and then confirms that it will indeed carry the iPhone.

iPhone 5

Add U.S. Cellular to the ever-growing list of wireless companies selling the iPhone.

The carrier was rather circumspect about the matter in its first-quarter earnings release Friday, saying only that it "will begin offering Apple products later this year." But it would, of course, seem likely that a wireless company that sells devices like Samsung's Galaxy S3 and the HTC One V would also want to offer the iPhone.

Slashgear earlier reported that U.S. Cellular confirmed it will sell the iPhone. We reached out to U.S. Cellular directly and likewise got confirmation of that.

Additional details about the device and the date probably will depend on when Apple launches its next iteration of the iPhone. Rumors have been swirling that a purported iPhone 5S could be announced as early as this summer. There has also been chatter about a low-cost iPhone possibly debuting sometime this year.

U.S. Cellular has had something of a love-hate relationship with Apple over its smartphone. In October 2010, the carrier's CEO, Mary Dillon, told CNET that it "would be great" to have the iPhone in its lineup. Then in November 2011, Dillon said U.S. Cellular had turned down an opportunity to get the iPhone because Apple's "terms were unacceptable from a risk and profitability standpoint."

After initially being available only through AT&T and then other major carriers, the iPhone in the last year or so has gone on sale via a number of smaller, regional carriers, from Alaska Communications to Kentucky's Bluegrass Cellular.

Correction 9:41 a.m. PT: This story incorrectly described one of the HTC phones sold through U.S. Cellular. The carrier offers, among other devices, the HTC One V. This story was also updated to include confirmation from U.S. Cellular that it will sell the iPhone.

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