Many expect Apple to launch its own cellular service (MVNO) before year’s end

“Nana Furman doesn’t own a mobile phone, preferring not to be pestered with calls during her private time. But Furman, a young Chicago professional, is a big fan of the iPod and all things Apple. So, if Apple Computer were to launch a cell phone–one with links to Apple’s Web music store and other Apple applications–she might reconsider, saying she would ‘definitely be intrigued.’ Apple watchers and wireless-industry observers think a lot of people would be intrigued. In fact, they expect the iPod maker to launch its own phone and wireless service, calling it a logical extension for Apple and its famous brand,” Mike Hughlett and Eric Benderoff report for the Chicago Tribune.

“‘Nobody has come up with the definitive music experience on a handset yet,’ said John Jackson, a wireless industry analyst at market researcher the Yankee Group. ‘It’s a very open opportunity. It has powerful potential.’ If it is being built, its arrival time is uncertain. But Jackson and others say sooner is best for Apple: Phonemakers and wireless networks are beefing up their own music offerings. ‘If (Apple) doesn’t do it this year, there’s little sense of doing it,’ Jackson said. ‘Nobody is sitting still,'” Hughlett and Benderoff report. “Apple would probably get into wireless by becoming a “Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or MVNO. An MVNO offers consumers a package deal: phones and phone service. Under that scenario, it would buy wholesale airtime from a wireless network, and farm out much of its work–billing, phone distribution, customer service–to companies that specialize in those services. The MVNO launched earlier this year by sports network ESPN is a case in point. ESPN Mobile buys airtime from Sprint. It then focuses on producing content for the service–video clips, scores, etc.–and for marketing it. Just about everything else is contracted out.”

Full article here.

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45 Comments

  1. Apple will not launch a iPhone or a cellular service and I’ll tell you why.

    Apple (under Steve Jobs) relies heavily upon creating and controling new markets with new products where they can charge a premium and collect maximum profits.

    This is why SJ is so intent on getting the moles out of the company. Look at “Asteriod” it was going to be a new hardware product that interfaced with Garageband and music devices.

    Steve Jobs is not interested in fighting a long protracted war with other phone device makers or cellular services over limited maket share.

    There hopefully was going to be something with Cingular, Motorolla and Apple, but that seems to have died. Same thing with Apple, iPod’s and HP, that cooperation died as well.

    Now it’s Apple and Intel, so anything that’s going to happen will include Intels plans in the deal, and since Intel is not a celluar carrier you can kiss any phone device goodbye, because without the carriers help it’s not going to sell.

  2. nothing that would separate the ipod and a cell phone would ever work if apple was to introduce it… this would have to be a full fledged ipod with a cellular service added to it. which would also be bluetooth, high capacity drive (since any removable media is still too expensive), and a new level of wireless downloads which only apple could pull off.

  3. just in

    George W. Bush told his audience, “the government funded research in microdrive storage, electrochemistry and signal compression. They did so for one reason: It turned out that those were the key ingredients for the development of the iPod.”

    Wow, the US Government developed the iPod, amazing….

    Next I’ll guess they will tell us Al Gore invented the internet!

  4. Look…..Quit thinking of a cellular phone service. Apple’s plan is so far beyond phone service. We are talking about actual communication devices. As in I see you and you see me, now I see movie, tv show or whatever. Live sporting events and what-not. Please stop with the ” It’s going to be another cell phone service.

  5. Andrew:

    You are locked in the past, bound by narrow thinking, and restrained by what you see in the moment. If Apple were to develop a technology that surpasses what currently exists for mobile phones today, this could be significant.

    If I were you, I wouldn’t be so confident in stating the impossible since you absolutely failed to predict the release of the iPod and dual booting.

  6. Cell phones have been restrained by their own perceived purpose. Like mp3 players existed before the ipod, “new” cellular content is available, but it’s generally unwieldy and unforgettable.

    Because of this… room for a takeover.

  7. This MVNO stuff is BS. Phone services are a commodity market, this is like suggesting Apple sells electricity or internet connections together with iBooks. BS!

    Here is what is going to happen to carriers: Mobile phones will get IP-Adresses. All that counts then is how much I pay for my data transaction. That’s a service like broadband internet connections. It’s a commodity like electricity. Carriers will fight over price and realiablity and these two things alone. All services will come from the net, as they do now.

    My advice to you my friend: Don’t be a carrier in 2008!

    Look to Europe (http://www.3g.co.uk/PR/April2004/6898.htm) for your future. This is the more mature mobile phone market and this is where you are heading.

  8. Al gore did invente the internet. Gosh. Why do you think it is called the internet? That is just two letters longer than Al Gore’s name… And two is the number of syllables in Al Gore’s name. So you see, the name internet (unless you ask GW… then it is internets), came from the name Al Gore. Gosh.

  9. You are locked in the past, bound by narrow thinking, and restrained by what you see in the moment. If Apple were to develop a technology that surpasses what currently exists for mobile phones today, this could be significant.

    History is a excellent teacher.

    Sure Apple could create something fantasitic, but you fail to realize that there are companies already in this market, it would only be a few months before they would offer their own devices, sold in their own stores/affliates before Apple even has a chance.

    If you rememeber your computer history, Apple created the personal computer market and was the market leader for quite some time until IBM, with it’s considerable resources entered the market and basically pushed Apple out.

    Now how is tiny Apple going to push out the major phone makers and carriers which are considerably bigger than they are (even more combined)?

    Don’t you think once Apple designed this great product and managed to patent it wouldn’t see duplicates and a ton of patent lawsuits within a year from all the competition?

    Look at what happened to Poloroid and Kodak, Kodak immeditaly copied the “instant picture” and sat down in a long, expensive protracted patent war with Poloroid. Finally Poloroid won and Kodak paid from the profits of their copy.

    Turns out the market changed to digital and instant photos went the way of the dinosaur.

    Apple is better off creating entirely new products in markets where nobody really is positioned well in, they can steam full ahead and lock it up tight.

    Fighting the entrenched competition is a waste of time and money.

  10. Andrew:

    I stand by my previous statement. You have not presented a logical or convincing argument that you can predict the future or that you have an original idea in your head. However, you are in good company with other well known prophets:

    “640K ought to be enough for anybody.” Bill Gates, 1981

    “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.” Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

    “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.

    “Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

    “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

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