The Case for Apple to Become a Mobile Carrier


Image via Mactrast

Whitey Bluestein’s piece on GigaOM illustrates how Apple will become a mobile carrier and offer voice and data plans directly to the consumer. Rather than spend the capital to install cell towers, Apple would buy wholesale spectrum directly from its existing carrier partners, which would be hesitant to say ‘no’ to Apple based on the fear of being left out:

Apple has all of the pieces necessary to offer wireless service directly to customers. They have the world’s leading brand, a loyal following who will pay a premium for Apple’s products and services, and 363 retail stores around the world, growing to 400 by the end of the year. And with iTunes, it has the digital content and billing platform to offer service with one-click simplicity. The infrastructure is in place today, with the patented architecture ready for Apple’s next big move.

Evidence used to argue the possible existence of an ‘Apple Mobile’ carrier coming to life points to the filed patent for “Dynamic Carrier Selection” back in 2006, prior to the release of the iPhone. Other evidence would be the recent battle Apple has had with other carriers to support a smaller-sized SIM card.

What do you think? Are we bound to see an ‘Apple Mobile’ carrier in the future? Imagine being able to buy your iPhone directly from Apple, and activating it through them, bypassing our ‘Big 3’ carriers. That would once again turn the mobile industry upside down.

[via GigaOM]


  • K3

    Sign me up. Cant help but wonder should this actually happen would Apple wireless service leave everyone behind being they have a possible means to evolve more rapidly from a hardware/ software position? 

  • draz

    Robelus will cry and complain. Then the CRTC will say no to Apple Wireless

  • Nick Sewell

    I don’t see it.  Apple holds a lot of the cards by playing the carriers off one and other.  Plus, all networks have periods of strain resulting in crappy performance. Right now they can wash their hands of it and point to AT&T or whoever.  If they were the carrier, they’d have to own all that headache every time something went wrong while still being dependant on the carrier infrastructure investments. 

  • Jd2157

    I suspect if Apple Wireless ever came to pass it would offer plans VERY similar to what’s currently available… i.e. I can’t see how they could possibly be disruptive in that space… the carriers wouldn’t let them. The fact still remains that in Canada, for many people, there’s no choice past Rogers/Telus/Bell… (which includes Fido/Koodoo/Virgin). The new carriers aren’t available in many areas (Wind, Dave, etc).

  • Dreamer

    I would say when the means for a long range wifi become available apple will create the best carrier, VO Apple Servers as well as no worries about data restrictions. Wifi is much faster and energy efficient… If they could implinent a paid service wifi network that would be disastrous for the carriers. And it would make the iPhones smaller… Don’t know how practical wifi is over 3G

  • Smitty

    I’d love to see this, no roaming in North America please!

  • MleB1

    Frankly, given Jobs’ notorious Control Freak mentality, I was surprised that when Apple first released the iPhone, they didn’t have their own network set up to accommodate it.

    Granted, it would have been harder to set up here, given The Big Three and government regulation – but things have since changed and though Jobs is gone, the Company’s desire to completely control it’s products hasn’t diminished. And hey, if they can convince consumers – or at least, the rabid Macoyltes – to buy the phone at full price to run on an (affordable) Apple-run network, all supported by Apple Stores and AppleCare – then its nothing but Ka-Ching! for them.

  • Ksmit

    Heck at this point it may even be a no roaming world wide, just have apple as a worldwide carrier and using iCloud in some form to handle all the data

  • excaliburca

    Won’t happen.  Apple will need spectrum and infrastructure that none of the big three will give them so they’ll have to build it on their own.  Then they’ll have to make the obscene amounts of money that they make on their hardware now to justify it to their shareholders, which means no real change in plan pricing from what we get here now.   It’s much more profitable and better for the brand to keep to the hardware only.

  • Bbbb