Apple reportedly in talks to launch its own mobile virtual network service in the U.S. and Europe

You might be able to replace your dreaded carrier with Apple by 2020 as the company is reportedly in talks to launch its own virtual network service in the United States and Europe, Business Insider reports.

The report suggests that the company is looking to launch its own mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO. That service would launch both in the United States and Europe at some point in the future. As a refresher, an MVNO is a service that works as a virtual carrier network, so that a company essentially leases the space necessary to use a network from already established carriers, like AT&T and Verizon Wireless, to sell that network access directly to the customer. In the United States, MVNOs include Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless and others.

If this pans out, and if a user were to switch to Apple’s MVNO, it would mean that a customer would be paying Apple for practically everything that comes with their smartphone — including texts, calls and data access. Instead of paying one carrier, though, Apple’s MVNO and the inclusion of the Apple SIM would mean that the smartphone (or tablet) could switch between carriers when necessary to get the best coverage possible.

As far as a launch window is concerned, the report indicates that Apple is looking into the future for this, and that even if it gets everything lined up, it could be close to five years before Apple launches it to the public. The report also notes that Apple has been in talks with wireless carriers for years now, suggesting its an “open secret” that a virtual network from the Cupertino-based carrier is on the way at some point.

An Apple-run wireless service could benefit tremendously from 850+ million credit cards iTunes has on file, 456 Apple retail stores around the world (190 of which are outside the U.S.), world-class support as well as from the strong gravitational pull of the Apple brand.

Ever since Steve Jobs took the MacWorld stage in January 2007 to deliver his career-defining iPhone presentation, the technology world has been speculating that the only reasons Apple chose AT&T as the exclusive U.S. carrier for the original iPhone stemmed from the technical hurdles preventing it from becoming a MVNO at the time.

An interesting presentation analyst Whitey Bluestein gave at the 2012 Barcelona Informa MVNO Industry Summit features the following takeaways:
  • Apple will bundle data with their tablets
  • Customers will buy data plan, and roaming, in iTunes Store
  • Apple will offer voice and data roaming plans in iTunes Store for iPhones
  • Apple will become full MVNO, with nanoSIM in all devices, provisioned and subscribed through iTunes
So what do you think ? Would it be a good thing to see a new carrier ?


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