While we’re all anticipating Apple’s move into the television market, and the impending release of the iPhone 5, we can be sure that this news has come straight out of left field. According to Whitey Bluestein, a wireless industry strategist/expert, Apple will begin offering wireless service to users of the iPhone and iPad. Just in case you’re wondering what that could mean – let’s just say that the likes of Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and Sprint could lose a significant number of subscribers as Apple takes them head on.
As reported from the Informa MVNO Industry Summit in Barcelona, Bluestein states that,
“Apple has the distribution channels, digital content portfolio and customer base to make the move, and it also has more than 250 million credit cards on file for iTunes users who could be billed directly for wireless service.” He goes onto say that “The battleground is set, but Apple will be the first mover. Google will have to scramble because it lacks retail distribution, experience with subscriber services and the iTunes ecosystem of content. iTunes and the iTunes Store provide Apple with one-click buying and customer care. Google can acquire most of these capabilities, as it has before, but it is not a core competency of the company.”
Apple’s biggest barrier, as noted by Bluestein, is the large subsidies that current carriers offer for the iPhone to consumers, which is about “$381.” Bluestein states that, “That has been a short-term stumbling block for Apple, but the company has its well-known cash reserves and could seize the initiative at any point.”
While Apple does have a patent pending from 2006 on network architecture, one would still have to wonder and consider Apple’s need for infrastructure and wireless spectrum to make this happen. At best the network wouldn’t be bogged down by the strain of all the other smartphones and data hogs, but how much spectrum would they be able to start off with initially? We can’t know that now, but maybe they already have all these questions answered.
As always this has not been confirmed by Apple. For all we know, this could be the biggest and best rumor of the year. However, if it is true, a lot more questions will be answered, and carriers will likely have to find another way to muscle Apple. Thoughts?