Does Apple Need Help Selling iPhones?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -If Apple ( AAPL) needed any more help selling iPhones, it's getting it today.

The world's largest technology company is bringing its iPhone to five more U.S.-based carriers today, as it continues to expand its coverage beyond the three major wireless providers, AT&T ( T), Verizon ( VZ) and Sprint ( S). The news was first reported by Apple blog, 9to5Mac.
Apple is bringing its iPhone to more U.S. carriers today

Alaska Communications ( ALSK), nTelos ( NTLS), Appalachian Wireless, GCL, and Cellcom will start selling the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S starting today. All five of the regional carriers will sell the iPhone 4S at a discount to AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, selling it for $50 less. They are also selling the iPhone.

TheStreet previously reported nTelos customers would get access to Apple's smartphone.

After Apple's last quarter, it's not as if the consumer tech giant needs help in selling the device. Apple sold an impressive 37.04 million units during the quarter, a particularly notable number given that the iPhone 4S was not a revolutionary upgrade from its predecessor.

In recent days, there has been speculation that Apple may not have a strong third-quarter for iPhone sales, with Apple component partner Qualcomm ( QCOM) warning that supply was not meeting demand. Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley cut his iPhone estimate to 29.34 million units, down from 33.58 million, due primarily to Qualcomm's warning.

In contrast, Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shope raised his price target to $750 from $700, thanks in large part to stronger-than-expected iPhone estimates. "We expect solid March-quarter upside, which is likely to trigger healthy increases in iPhone, iPad and overall earnings expectations for the full year," Shope wrote in his research report.

We'll find out if Apple needs the help or not when it reports earnings after the close of trading on April, 24. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the Cupertino, Calif.-based giant to report $10 per share in earnings on $36.65 billion in revenue for the quarter.

Shares of Apple are lower in early Friday trading, off 1.56% at $578.2.

Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

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-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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