All the U.S. Phone Companies That Offer the iPhone

U.S. Carriers for the iPhone
image credit: Paul Taylor/The image Bank/Getty Images

When the iPhone was introduced, if consumers wanted the hot new smartphone, they had one choice of what phone company to buy it from: AT&T. But as the years have passed, options have expanded and now U.S. consumers have a variety of iPhone carriers to choose from. Whether you want to use your iPhone with a standard monthly plan, pre-pay for your usage, or get a discounted model from small regional carriers, now you can.

With the mix of carriers and plans now available, understanding all the options can be tough. To make it easier, here's a round-up of all the U.S. iPhone carriers, broken down by their type.

National iPhone Carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon

National carriers are the major companies that you probably think of first when you think of who offers the iPhone: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. These companies offer service that's designed to serve the largest number of customers across the country. Here you'll get calling, data, texting, personal hotspot, and related services, as well as the latest iPhone models. 

To learn more about the national carriers, read these articles:

Advantages: Fullest set of features, national coverage, latest models

Disadvantages: Most expensive services, limited upgrade options

Pre-Paid National Carriers

Pre-paid national carriers are similar to the major carriers (in fact, Virgin Mobile is a subsidiary of Sprint) in terms of the services they offer with one major difference: instead of paying a fixed monthly fee for your phone and data use, you pay for your use as you go. Often with these carriers, the money you pay is credited to your account and is debited as you use your phone. When you exhaust the money you've paid, you have to recharge your account.

The price you'll pay monthly is less than with the major carriers, but there are a few drawbacks. For one, monthly plans aren't truly unlimited (data used above a certain monthly limit is slowed down, for instance).

Here are links to the rate plans for the 10 national prepaid companies that offer the iPhone:

Advantages: Competitive monthly prices vs. national carriers, flexibility on monthly cost

Disadvantages: "Unlimited" plans aren't really, big companies now offer many similar benefits

Regional Carriers

Unless you live in certain, mostly rural, places, you've probably never heard of most of the regional iPhone carriers. These companies offer two crucial things that their larger competitors don't: coverage in rural areas and discounts on some models.

The larger providers tend to cover the largest population centers since that's where the most customers are, but that means that people living in rural locations sometimes don't have service from them. These smaller providers serve those customers with coverage and plans suited to their area. Besides just getting coverage, customers of these companies also see discounts on devices—iPhones are about US$50 less from these providers than the larger companies (though this is offset by monthly plans sometimes being a bit more expensive). Regional carriers by state:

Alabama

Alaska

California

Colorado

Georgia

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

  • U.S. Cellular

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Maine

  • U.S. Cellular

Maryland

  • nTelos
  • U.S. Cellular

Michigan

Minnesota

  • iWireless

Mississippi

  • C Spire

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

  • iWireless
  • U.S. Cellular
  • Viaero Wireless

New Hampshire

  • U.S. Cellular

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

  • Allte
  • lnTelos

Oklahoma

Oregon

  • U.S. Cellular

Pennsylvania

  • Blue Wireless
  • nTelos

South Carolina

  • Alltel

South Dakota

  • iWireless

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

  • Strata Networks

Vermont

  • U.S. Cellular

Virginia

  • Appalachian Wireless
  • nTelos
  • U.S. Cellular

Washington

  • Inland Cellular
  • U.S. Cellular

West Virginia

  • Telos
  • U.S. Cellular

Wisconsin

Wyoming

  • Silver Star Communications
  • Union Wireless
  • Viaero Wireless

Advantages: Lower price on phones, service in rural locations that national carriers don't serve

Disadvantages: Higher plan prices, fewer features

Other Carriers

As the iPhone becomes more and more ubiquitous, additional carriers that don't fit in the categories above are starting to offer it. These are often national carriers that target their services at very specific markets or customers. Some of most prominent of these are:

Advantages: By targeting niches, can serve those specific customers better

Disadvantages: May not offer all features or competitive pricing