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| May 1, 2012
Expert Says Apple Will Soon Become MVNO And Offer Wireless Service Directly
Are you ready to ditch AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint to receive your wireless service directly from Apple? An industry expert says Apple will soon be providing wireless plans directly to iPad and iPhone users by becoming a mobile virtual network operator. According to 9to5Mac, wireless industry analyst Whitey Bluestein made a presentation that outlined how Apple will directly provide wireless service to customers. As a MVNO, Apple would not own the wireless spectrum, but contract with an operator to obtain access for a bulk rate. Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile are examples of two MVNOs in the United States. In the presentation, Bluestein said that Apple will begin to provide the entire package of wireless services – cellular service, data, voice, and roaming directly to customers. Apple toyed with becoming a MVNO before launching the original iPhone in 2007, but eventually partnered with AT&T to offer the phone exclusively. Apple will begin the practice by offering data plans bundled with iPads, instead of selling the tablets with AT&T or Verizon service. After that, Apple will expand the practice to the iPhone by offering activation, data, and international plans through the iTunes store. Finally, the company will provide voice, data, and messaging plans to consumers on an ala carte basis. While if Bluetstein's predictions come true, it would be a great win for consumers, there are some roadblocks. First, Apple would have to find a way to offer iPhones inexpensively as carriers do with on-contract subsidies. Then, there would be the slight problem of how to handle customers who are stuck with their respective carriers in two-year contracts and unable to receive service from Apple. But, if anyone can make it work, it's probably Apple. How would you like to bid your wireless carrier goodbye in favor of Apple? (Image via CNN Money)