US Cellular: We turned down iPhone

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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. Cellular, the country’s sixth-largest cellphone company, says it had the opportunity to carry the iPhone but turned it down because the phone is too expensive.

Consumers pay $200 for the base model of the iPhone 4S, but Apple charges carriers about $600 for it. Carriers count on making their money back in service fees over the life of the contract.

CEO Mary Dillon told analysts on an earnings conference call Friday that “the terms were unacceptable from a risk and profitability standpoint.”

AT&T was the exclusive U.S. carrier for Apple Inc.’s phone for three and a half years, until Verizon Wireless got it in February. In October, it was followed by Sprint Nextel Corp. Now, tiny Mississippi-based carrier C Spire Wireless is set to add it too.