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Friday, October 25, 2013, 09:35 am PT (12:35 pm ET)

Apple to launch iPad Air on regional American wireless providers in 'coming weeks'

C Spire Wireless and Bluegrass Cellular became the first U.S. carriers outside of the "big four" to announce sales of Apple's newest 9.7-inch iPad Air, issuing dueling press releases three days after the tablet was unveiled.

iPad Air coming soon


Mississippi-based C Spire and Kentucky-based Bluegrass Cellular both say the iPad Air will be available on the carriers' 4G LTE networks when it debuts "in the coming weeks." The companies also promise they will offer "a range of attractive data plans" for the slate, which Apple will begin selling in its first-party retail channels on Nov. 1.

C Spire and Bluegrass Celluar, which together cover a large portion of the southern United States — Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Kentucky — were also among the initial batch of regional carriers to begin selling Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c earlier in October.

There is no word on whether, as they do with the iPhone models, the carriers will offer discounts when purchasing the iPad Air with a mobile data plan. Customers of the two companies can purchase an on-contract iPhone 5s for $50 off of Apple's retail price.

The iPad Air, shown off at a special event on Tuesday, is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than its Retina-packing predecessor, the iPad 4. The updates tablet features the new 64-bit A7 processor, the M7 motion coprocessor, and a higher-quality 5-megapixel iSight camera.