Five regional operators are selling the iPhone 5 for $50 less than their national competitors. 

Cellcom, C Spire Wireless, Appalachian Wireless, nTelos Wireless and General Communications, Inc. have priced the smartphone at $149 and up with a two-year contract. 

By comparison, the base cost of the iPhone 5 is $199 at AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint.

"We're excited to be offering the amazing new iPhone 5 to our customers at an incredible value," nTelos President and CEO Jim Hyde said in a statement. The iPhone 5 went on sale through wireless providers today after Apple began selling the device on Sept. 21.

The competitive pricing strategy for the iPhone 5 follows the same tact as the operators' previous pricing for earlier models of the iPhone. Cellcom, nTelos, Appalachian Wireless and GCI all sold the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 at a $50 discount when they began selling the smartphones last spring. 

The latest version of the iPhone allows the mid-tier providers to keep their smartphone offerings up to par with larger operators. The companies report the device has proved  to be an important differentiator, allowing the likes of Cellcom and C Spire to retain customers that otherwise would have left to get the iPhone through another provider. 

Apple reported it sold 5 million iPhone 5's over its opening weekend. 

Rural Alaska operator Matanuska Telephone Association also landed the iPhone 5 but has not disclosed pricing. It could not be immediately reached for comment. 

It took more than four years for the iPhone to arrive at a regional provider, largely because of AT&T's exclusivity agreement with Apple. C Spire was the first smaller carrier to get the iPhone, which it began offering last November.