Apple is officially denying reports that it will be going into the wireless business. Earlier this week, a report published by Business Insider stated that the iPhone maker was planning to launch a mobile network, similar to what Google did when it launched its Project Fi service. According to the story, the wireless service offered by Apple would let subscribers pay the company directly for voice calls, text messaging, and data, at the same time automatically switch between wireless carriers to give customers the best service possible. The report further mentioned that Apple was looking to launch the service at least five years from now.
But as stated by a spokesperson from Apple, the company does not have any plans to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service at all. This is an interesting development because Business Insider has cited unnamed sources for its story. Its initial report says that not only is Apple planning to launch a mobile network, the company has purportedly already begun testing a MVNO service in the United States.
For those not in the know, MVNOs are wireless services provided by certain companies that do not own their own network infrastructure, preferring instead to use the existing infrastructures of other wireless carriers. Examples of MVNOs include Republic Wireless and FreedomPop, just to name a few. These companies typically rent wireless service from major wireless carriers such as Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, and then offer that wireless service to their own subscribers.
In April earlier this year, Google launched its own MVNO. Called Project Fi, this wireless service switches between cellular signals and Wi-Fi connections, and allows subscribers to pay only for the exact data they consumed. This is in contrast to what is normally practiced by major wireless carriers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T for instance, who usually have their subscribers pay a fixed rate for a certain amount of data used.
Could Apple be the next to launch its own MVNO? Apple has already officially denied it, however.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that there have been rumors about Apple launching an MVNO or signs that it might be planning to do so. As early as 2006, there were reports that Apple filed an MVNO patent application. The company has since filed to extend that patent. And then last year, Apple launched the Apple SIM, which let mobile users switch between networks by using a certain SIM card that could connect to different wireless carriers.
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