Ntelos Holdings Corp. will sell the basic model of the latest iPhone, the 4S, for $150 on April 20. That’s $49 less than what AT&T, Verizon and Sprint charge. Versions with more storage sell for $250 and $350, also $49 cheaper than the rivals. A two-year contract is required, with monthly service fees of $80 or $100, comparable to fees charged by others.
Phone companies subsidize the iPhone, which costs about $600 wholesale. Selling it means shouldering a big upfront cost. Ntelos Chief Financial Officer Stebbins Chandor said the phone would start paying off in 2014.
Ntelos CEO James Hyde said it needed the iPhone to fill a gap in its smartphone lineup and compete with other carriers. In the first quarter, the company lost about 5,000 subscribers from its contract-based plans, which are the most lucrative, while adding subscribers to cheaper prepaid services.
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