UPDATE: C Spire to offer iPhone 4S; fourth company to do so and ahead of T-Mobile

PRE-REGISTRATION BEGINS TODAY;

DEVICE WILL LAUNCH IN COMING WEEKS

RIDGELAND —  As the Mississippi Business Journal reported several weeks ago, C Spire, the regional wireless carrier previously known as Cellular South, will have the newest iPhone from Apple to offer its customers.

C Spire announced today that it will launch iPhone 4S in the U.S. in the coming weeks.

••• READ AN INTERVIEW WITH C SPIRE CEO HU MEENA •••

While C Spire has declined to comment  on its relationship and negotiations with Apple, C Spire spokesman Dave Miller talked with bloggers from FierceWireless.com. According to the website, Miller said C Spire likely will offer a package like the version that Verizon and

Sprint offer, “which provides CDMA service and GSM roaming.”

READ WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT C SPIRE …

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C Spire spokesman Dave Miller told FierceWireless that the carrier will provide more details in the coming weeks. He said it’s likely that that the carrier will offer the version that Verizon and Sprint offer, which provides CDMA service and global GSM roaming. He declined to comment on C Spire’s relationship or negotiations with Apple. C Spire did not provide details on when it will launch the device, what price points it will offer and what plans will be coupled with the device. However, the launch represents a coup for the company. C Spire will be getting the iPhone 4S before Tier 1 carrier T-Mobile USA and US Cellular as well as, according to other media outlets, before flat-rate players like Leap Wireless and MetroPCS.

It was just Sept. 21, when then Cellular South changed its named to C Spire Wireless, with the company touting that it is the nation’s first wireless provider to introduce personalized wireless services. “We have entered a new era in wireless – an era centered on broadband networks, mobile computing devices and now personalized services. Completing calls is only a small part of what we deliver our customers,” president and CEO of C Spire Hu Meena said at the time. “Since 1988, our main focus has been on providing exceptional service for our customers and their wireless needs. Those needs have changed dramatically and will do so at an even more rapid pace in the future.” The iPhone 4S began appearing in Mississippi last week as the Ridgeland Apple store began selling the newest Apple device. People had begun lining up to get the new gadget late the previous night. The iPhone 4S is the latest in the company’s line of “Jesus Phones,” which includes many under-the-hood improvements. Apple has been on the mind on many recently, despite of the new iPhone, because of Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, who died two weeks ago, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The iPhone 4S initially was panned by critics, who said it was more of a facelift to the iPhone 4 than a new product. The phone’s exterior looks the same as its predecessor, but the guts are new. Inside there’s a faster A5 dual-core processor, an improved 8 megapixel camera and a voice assistant named Siri, who will respond to voice commands and answer questions. Pre-orders of the phone started on Oct. 7 and beat expectations. Apple sold 1 million in the first 24 hours via its website and carriers AT&T, Verizon and — for the first time — Sprint. By comparison, Apple reported 600,000 iPhone 4 pre-orders last year in 24 hours, but that included orders placed with overseas carriers. Now, C Spire will be a part of that group. Privately held C Spire Wireless counts roughly 875,000 wireless subscribers and operates a network across Mississippi and parts of Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. The carrier offers nationwide service through roaming, but doesn’t disclose its roaming partners.

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