Apple is investigating the idea of launching a mobile network in the US and Europe, meaning customers could eschew conventional cell carriers and pay the company directly for an entire service plan of minutes, texts and data.
Apple to launch a mobile network? In a few years we could be paying Apple directly for our calls, texts and minutes: http://t.co/ibtx6GlNpr
— TapSmart (@TapSmart) August 4, 2015
According to a report from Business Insider, Apple is considering launching a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service as an alternative to traditional phone network. MVNOs provide wireless communications services to customers by hiring the necessary network infrastructure from existing providers. Essentially, this means Apple could sort out your phone contract as well as your actual phone.
Many large companies, like Virgin Mobile US and British Telecom, already operate MVNO services, leasing “wireless telephone and data spectrum” from major carriers. Google is already testing its own MVNO, Project Fi, which could mean yet another market for the tech giants to fight over in a few years time.
Apple is well-known for its holistic approach to both design and business, making its own hardware, software and services to keep everything seamlessly tied together. It’s no surprise that it would want a level of control over phone contracts and services as well to add to the rest of the Apple ‘ecosystem’ – the first step on that path may be voicemail, if recent rumors are to be trusted.
Sources say that Apple is testing its MVNO service in the US but is also speaking to European telecoms companies. Its unclear whether the service will ever move beyond testing – and even if Apple does go ahead with the plan, it likely won’t be ready for “at least five years.”
Read more: Apple to launch ‘iCloud Voicemail’