Apple tipped to plan mobile service foray

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net
A US wireless industry strategic advisor has predicted that Apple will soon begin offering its own mobile services directly to iOS users.
 
In a post on GigaOM, Whitey Bluestein has revealed he expects Apple to soon strike wholesale deals with mobile operators to allow it to offer wireless service directly to iPhone and iPad users.
 
Apple is likely to start by selling data packages and international roaming plans bundled with iPhones, Bluestein said.
 
He suggests Apple may pursue offering wireless deals in multiple markets worldwide, and that it might adopt the Apple Mobile brand for the retail service.
 
Apple filed a patent in 2006 for a method of dynamic carrier selection. In the model outlined in the patent, Apple would be a mobile service provider, and offer connectivity via wholesale deals with multiple operators in any region.
 
On the face of it, this arrangement would not be in operators' best interests. But Bluestein said mobile operators “would have a hard time saying no to the world’s largest and fastest growing company, which builds the devices everyone wants.”
 
He added that he would not be surprised if Apple is already in talks with operators for such an arrangement, and that he wouldn't be surprised “if the mobile operators initiated the conversation.”
 
Bluestein implied that what has been holding back Apple from making the move are the enormous subsidies many operators offer for iPhones and iPads, but that it may be ready to address this issue with its huge cash horde.
 
But not everybody is convinced about the chances of Apple making a foray into wireless services. Bryan Chaffin of The Mac Observer has noted that this move would potentially “put the hardware company into direct competition with the very companies that have been instrumental in Apple’s extraordinary rise in revenue [and] profits.”
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