Apple is apparently in talks to launch its own mobile network and become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the US and Europe.
According to various sources, Apple is testing the service already in the United States, and there are also negotiations in Europe to launch the MVNO service overseas.
Will Apple launch a mobile network?
If the move goes ahead, Apple would become its own network company, which would free it up from mobile operators such as AT&T in the US. That would mean users can be for their data, calls and text messages directly from Apple.
The MVNO would lease space from the mobile network operators who already provide such services under their own brands, and with the Apple SIM card (which is already included in the cellular versions of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3), the devices would be automatically be able to switch networks to get the best signal and price, all transparent to the user.
The testing of the MVNO service however doesn’t guarantee that it will ever see the light of day for iPhone owners in the US and Europe. However, if Apple does aim to become a network itself, it would be a lengthy exercise that would take more than five years to implement, according to analysts.
Sources in the telecommunications industry say that Apple is looking at the long-term prospects with its MVNO plans, and might take years to roll out. Apple has already been in talks with the operators for years and it’s already a kind of open secret that a virtual Apple network is in the works, with speculation about the possibility swirling for a decade.
With Apple in advanced talks with the mobile standards organisation GSMA over a standardised mobile virtual SIM card (which would mean customers don’t need to be locked to a dedicated network company), the company does seem to be positioning itself ready for a future MVNO launch.