It looks as though Apple could be about to follow in the footsteps of Google Project Fi by launching its own mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO as it’s more affectionately known as. According to a new report, Tim Cook’s Cupertino based company is currently in talks with partners over the possibility of effectively operating as its own carrier with operations in the United States and various European territories, thanks to deals with existing suppliers in those areas.
For those that may not exactly be au fait with the terminology, an MVNO is essentially a virtual mobile network that allows technology companies, like Apple or Google in this instance, to purchase network space from existing and established mobile networks. Those purchasing companies would then create and market their own carrier packages with the intention of selling the service directly to consumers, presumably alongside its own hardware in Apple’s case. It’s a great way of offering a full-stack experience under one brand name.
In Apple’s case, rather than purchase a device from the company and then pay a monthly fee to the likes of Verizon or AT&T, the whole experience would be converged. Consumers with an iPhone or cellular iPad would get the whole experience directly from Apple, paying the company directly for any data sent and received, or for any text or telephone voice call bundles. Apple’s own SIM would be where the magic lies, and would automatically handle switching between the available networks that Apple had partnerships with.
The same source is reporting that rather than just being in the consideration or discussion stage, Apple is actually in the process of trailing the service as we speak. It’s actually something that has been speculated upon for some time with the general consensus being that Apple is taking the “long-term” approach to offering any potential MVNO services to its customers. Discussions with telecom companies has supposedly been ongoing for a number of years with it being highly likely that it could be another four or five years before Apple virtual network makes an appearance, if at all.
With Google’s Project Fi currently available for the Nexus 6 in the United States, it makes perfect sense for Apple to be at least considering this as an option, especially as the company filed a patent for an MVNO back in 2006.
(Source: Business Insider)