Apple is looking to develop its own mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service, according to a Business Insider article by James Cook. The MVNO would see Apple leasing space from mobile carriers and reselling it to consumers, effectively making Apple the mobile network provider for its iPhone users.
The company is thought to be testing the service in the US right now, with negotiations with European carriers underway. While Apple has denied the rumors, it did file an MVNO service patent in 2006 that was recently renewed, and the move would jibe with rumors of another new service being tested called iCloud Voicemail, which will let users have Siri, the AI assistant built into most Apple devices, transcribe voice messages. Plans for an MVNO service also echo Apple’s efforts to free customers to use multiple different mobile carriers via its iPad Mini 3 and iPad Air 2’s transferable SIM cards.
Cook notes that Google is currently working on its own MVNO in its Project Fi on the Nexus 6 mobile device in the US, and may be part of a larger trend that has seen such major IT companies seek greater control of consumer data services. But it could also offer benefits in terms of consolidation of security infrastructure; if Apple becomes the carrier with which iPhone and iPad users are consistently transmitting data, the company will have much more control over the security of that data. Given that Apple has been a standard bearer for customer data privacy in the past, that could be a major part of the company’s rationale in pursuing its own MVNO service – or, at least, a major benefit.
Source: Business Insider