UBS analyst: Apple may launch MVNO, serve as own carrier for ‘iPhone’

“Apple Computer Inc. may serve as its own wireless carrier if it delivers an iPod-based cell phone next year and rely on the company’s network of retail stores to sell service contracts for the device, UBS AG said,” Connie Guglielmo reports for Bloomberg.

Guglielmo reports, “To operate as a mobile virtual network operator, or MVNO, Apple may partner with Cingular Wireless LLC to provide wireless service for a so-called iPhone, Benjamin Reitzes, a UBS analyst in New York, said today in a note.”

“‘Apple is embarking on another chapter in multiplying its revenue streams as it sells more accessories and cellular services,’ said Reitzes, the second-ranked computer analyst by Institutional Investor magazine. ‘While there are number of challenges with an MVNO, Apple may be the best positioned of any player yet to make it work given its distribution, brand, installed base of iPods and software and iTunes integration.'” Guglielmo reports.

Guglielmo reports, “Apple may announce the iPhone in March or April, relying on its network of 174 retail stores to promote the device, he said. The iPhone may include 4 gigabytes to 8 gigabytes of flash memory and a digital camera, Reitzes said, citing unnamed sources.”

Full article here.

“An MVNO model would allow Apple to have total control over the user experience, which is something [UBS] cannot imagine Steve Jobs relinquishing by allowing just about anyone to sell his phone,” Notable Calls reports. “They would not be surprised if the company offered 2 or more phones for customers by year-end 2007, with the first version shipping as early as March. UBS believes one phone will likely be a GSM/GPRS phone, with a second phone potentially being a 3G/WCDMA product.”

Full article here.

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  1. Im sure the overburdened staff at the retail stores are just jumping for joy over the prospect of having to deal with yet another device that people abuse and have no idea how to use.

    This will just prove to weaken the Apple retail experience.

  2. MDN … EASY ON THE LINKS DUDE!!!!! When I pull up an MDN article on my Treo, it takes forever to scroll past that pile.

    Consolidate them into 1 link or something (even put the total number to show what a big man you are).

  3. I’ve heard that if Apple does this, it will actually be a 3G/CDMA2000 EV/DO phone running on Sprint’s network.

    You could never do full length 128kb song downloads over S-L-O-W GSM networks and WCDMA/HSDPA network coverage is minimal at best (the older WCDMA (Rel 99) only provides for slightly faster dataspeeds than creaky old GSM)….

    Therefore, the only networks this could effectively run over is either Sprint or Verizon’s 3G/EV/DO broadband networks which have much wider, nationwide type coverage w/ average data rates of 700 kbps…

  4. What are the other areas of electronics hardware where Apple could potentially invade?

    • Home/small business phone systems that connect to Mac network — caller id on screen and such. Using computer/server as voice mail storage.
    • The printer/fax/scanner & copier market. Perhaps buy a company and improve on connection with computer network.
    • Point of sale devices/cash registers.
    • Digital still & movie cameras, consumer and/or high-end professional
    • Gaming devices — handheld and/or console.
    • Digital projectors.

    If Apple does offer the phone and service strictly through their stores they will need many more stores. This could prove too limiting initially. Also, the stores are small and with too many products run the risk of getting cluttered.

  5. Apple is going to release a new product ONLY if they have a chance to revolutionize the world. They are really a bunch of rich kids in a playroom who don’t need any more money, and they are not going to play if they don’t have a chance to win.
    Having as much control as possible is probably 2nd in priority only to the quality and intuitiveness of the product.

    With billions in reserve, who needs any more money and who would want M$ problems to go along with money they can’t even spend. Apple doesn’t care about having a tiny slice of the cell phone…they want to cook a whole new pie in their own oven.

  6. I think apple will do MVNO. Why? Remember the user experience. Having GSM/GPRS phone and 3G/WCDMA is out of the question. They will pick only one. K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Stupid), that is apple MO. It will sell as a unlock phone. Why you ask? Some people are in contracts and they do not want to pay $150-$200 to get out of it, and then turn around and buy 300+ phone. But if the buy a unlock phone, once they finish they can join apple network. Remember ESPN phone…what do you think happen to them?

  7. Doesn’t make sense for Apple to do it for the simple reason that the quality of the mobile phone system here in the US sucks. Coverage is still poor. Dissatisfaction with the phone coverage would sully Apple’s reputation. Far better to just sell a phone.

  8. The only reason i would say we wouldn’t see the MVNO over Sprint or Verizon is their lack of worldwide network. do you think apple wants this phone only in the US?

    with GSM it’s so much easier to use your phone worldwide

  9. Yes Lord Byron it is… and get RIPPED OFF w/ outrageous roaming rates!

    But the fundamental fact remains that Apple could not offer full length track downloads over creaky GSM. The current offering of over-the-air downloads are compressed to only 32 Kbps (gee, now that’s great quality – NOT!) so the only way for Apple to offer 128 Kbps quality is over a broadband network.

    The BULK of iPod sales is here in the USA, and the need for international roaming is minimal except to Canada & Mexico. Sprint & Verizon provide roaming to both. Even UK-based Virgin Mobile operates their US MVNO over Sprint’s network….

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