Apple close to becoming service provider
A US wireless industry strategic advisor predicts Apple will soon begin offering its own mobile services directly to iOS users.
Whitey Bluestein forecasts Apple will soon strike wholesale deals with mobile operators to allow it to offer wireless service directly to iPhone and iPad users. The firm is likely to start by selling data packages and international roaming plans bundled with iPhones, Bluestein states in a post on GigaOM.
He suggests Apple may look to offer wireless deals in multiple markets worldwide, and that it might adopt the Apple Mobile brand for the retail service.
Apple filed a patent in 2006 for a method of dynamic carrier selection. In the model outlined in the patent, Apple would be a mobile service provider, and offer connectivity via wholesale deals with multiple operators in any region. While on the face of it the arrangement would not be in operators' best interests, Bluestein notes carriers “would have a hard time saying no to the world’s largest and fastest growing company, which builds the devices everyone wants.”
He added that he would not be surprised if Apple is already in talks with operators for such an arrangement – discussions most likely started by the carriers themselves.
Bluestein implied that what has been holding back Apple from making the move are the enormous subsidies many operators offer for iPhones and iPads, but that it may be ready to use its huge cash horde to address the issue.
But not everybody is convinced about the chances of Apple making a foray into wireless services.
Bryan Chaffin of The Mac Observer has noted such a move would potentially pitch Apple into direct competition “with the very companies that have been instrumental in Apple’s extraordinary rise in revenue [and] profits.”