Why it doesn’t make sense for Apple to offer their own cellular service right now

“There are a number of reasons why offering its own cellular service may not make sense [for Apple], especially at this moment in time,” Ina Fried writes for Re/code. “Consumers today are benefitting from four carriers heavily competing against one another, with a resurgent T-Mobile and an increasingly desperate Sprint both putting price pressure on AT&T and Verizon.”

“Also, carriers spend a fortune to keep their networks strong enough to handle increasing demands and to swiftly upgrade to faster technologies,” Fried writes. “If they become truly a dumb pipe just selling gigabytes to Apple, the incentive to differentiate on customer service or speed is reduced, as would be the amount of capital they would have to invest. Over time, that could mean both Apple and consumers would lose.”

Fried writes, “Plus, if it is Apple’s name attached to the service, it would have to take on the role of customer support and the perceived blame when the service doesn’t meet customer expectations.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Too many downsides and not enough upside for am Apple MVNO. Maybe someday it’ll make sense – in some places. After all, the iPhone is a worldwide phenomenon. Operating a bunch of disparate MVNOs in various countries, with varying rules and laws and quality of coverage(s), would be a bag of hurt. Let the carriers duke it out to retain their coveted iPhone customers.

Apple: No, we’re not planning to become a MVNO – August 4, 2015
Apple MVNO coming soon? – August 3, 2015
MVNO: Should Apple become its own cellular carrier? – May 7, 2015
Expert: Apple plans to crush carriers and offer direct mobile service – May 1, 2012
The crazy master plan that could complete Apple’s mobile domination – November 29, 2011
Does Apple want to be its own carrier? MVNO patent application extended – June 2, 2011
Apple granted ‘Dynamic Carrier Selection’ patent where carriers bid to provide service to iPhones – February 9, 2011
Apple to soon become MVNO? – December 05, 2008
Apple’s unprecedented, almost unbelievable iPhone business model: hassle-free MVNO – October 01, 2007
UBS analyst: Apple may launch MVNO, serve as own carrier for ‘iPhone’ – December 13, 2006
Cingular music deal suggests possible Apple MVNO for ‘iPhone’ – November 01, 2006
Many expect Apple to launch its own cellular service (MVNO) before year’s end – April 22, 2006
Apple to become mobile virtual network operator (MVNO)? – April 19, 2006
Analysts tackle Apple’s ‘Mobile Me’ patent, iPhone rumors, MVNO possibilities – January 19, 2006
Apple may eventually introduce its own ‘iPhone’ cell phone-iPod combo and create Apple MVNO – September 12, 2005


  1. It makes perfect sense for Apple to offer their own cellular service, as an MVNO, right now.

    When Apple began selling digital music, they intended to disrupt the market by offering individual tracks at a flat unit price. It worked pretty well.

    The current market for cellular data is a byzantine system of price tiers requiring customers to estimate their monthly usage and buy a tier that’s big enough to avoid punitive overage charges while not paying for unused data. All the carrier’s special deals — rollover minutes, etc. — are just minor variations on this model.

    Apple could offer a cell plan where data is charged at a flat rate per megabyte used. The whole concept of voice minutes could be dropped by charging for the actual data used or by an average conversion factor. No data usage in a billing month, no charge. Overhead? The iTunes store does not charge for the overhead of keeping track of user accounts with credit card info: no iTunes store purchases in a month, no charge.

    Selling a dramatically simple user experience is exactly in Apple’s wheelhouse.

    1. From a consumer’s point of view, sure. But there is no way apple would suffer the same Byzantine system in order to shield the customers from it. There is absolutely no positive side to it, other than a very abstract quality, customer satisfaction. The price is just way too great.

  2. The stated reason for doing this “MVNO” thing is to improve the customer’s experience with iPhone. Apple has already achieved this goal by insisting that wireless carriers minimize their role with the customer, as part of the deal to offer iPhone.

    Most other phone makers put the carrier’s logo on the phone. The phone maker essentially sells the phone to the carrier and hands off customer service responsibility. Apple does the opposite, including running the consolidated App Store, controlling software updates, and providing direct customer support for the hardware. Apple equalizes the iPhone user experience at a high satisfaction level, while letting the wireless carriers provide the “data pipes.” Isn’t that basically the supposed “MVNO” advantage…?

  3. again, apple needs it’s own network. re-occurring dollars. iPhone can’t keep turning in the kind of sells numbers it does now forever.
    the analyst should be sued by the stock holders. these analyst wild guesses are hurting stock value. apple sets their and the analysis should cover whether apple can make the numbers apple offers.
    the foolishness going on by these analyst smells like stock price manipulation. why are theses people never fired? why do news outlets cover their predictions when they have been so wrong in the pass.
    why does any company trade at a multiple anyway? why is it that apple should be trading at 15 times earnings… that’s stupid. that’s inflation. every company trading at anything above 2 times is just nuts. anything above 1:1 is speculation.

  4. The next time apple should make is a multifuncional drone,and put the ipad or the iphone as measures to control the icar by maps service,like plug and play,and then you have a electric car with LTE satellite service to control the car via maps,and then the car resolves the problems with the sensors and cameras and stuff so it can be easy to solve the problems on other trips,and should have a dock inside the car to place the phone or ipad and then you can put it and talk and video or chat via car while the car is driving by itself or not,possible if this is not or is it possible,is up to apple 🙂

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