Apple Becoming a Wireless Carrier?

Bloomberg claims that Apple will be its own carrier for the upcoming iPhone.

I think that if Bloomberg is right, it would be a really great thing for customers.

Signing a contract with a wireless carrier today is a complete mess for the customer. There are way to many plans to choose from, and each one is ridiculously complicated. On top of that, a plan that is advertised at $40/month really turns out to cost around $70/month, due to taxes and fees that are all hidden in the fine print when you sign a contract.

If Apple was the carrier for the iPhone, I’m sure they would make the whole process a delightful experience for the customer, and be very up-front about any hidden fees, as they are with everything.

However, I must say that I find it very unlikely that Apple would make this move. It would be a ton of extra work for Apple.

Bloomberg says that Apple would be a “mobile virtual network operator,” or MVNO, which means that it would use network infrastructure (cell towers, wiring, etc.) that is owned and operated by another company (Bloomberg suggests Cingular). This would save Apple the trouble of having to build towers, which, of course, would be an insane undertaking that I don’t think anyone thinks Apple would do. But even if Apple would be an MVNO, it would still have to operate the dealings with end-users, such as managing plans and contracts. This could become a huge headache for Apple, and it just doesn’t seem like the kind of thing Apple is interested in.

Apple becoming a wireless carrier seems just as awesome, but just as unlikely, as Apple becoming its own record label.

What do you think? Would Apple being the carrier make you more likely to purchase an iPhone?


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