Apple looking to build its own mobile network
Apple is reportedly looking to create its own mobile phone network in the US — could this be the company’s next $100 billion venture?
Apple is looking to create its own iPhone-exclusive network in the US that will compete with the likes of AT&T and Verizon Wireless, according to a US-based wireless industry strategist.
‘Veteran wireless industry strategist Whitey Bluestein,’ reports BGR, ‘who has managed strategic deals for the likes of AT&T, Intel, T-Mobile, Verizon, Microsoft, Nokia and Best Buy, says Apple will soon begin to offer wireless service directly to iPhone and iPad users.’
Speaking at the Informa MVNO Industry Summit in Barcelona, Bluestein said: ‘Apple has the distribution channels, digital content portfolio and customer base to make the move and it also has more than 250 million credit cards on file for iTunes users who could be billed directly for wireless service.’
Of course Apple needs more than just credit cards and a large user base. It also needs to acquire a portion of the US’ wireless spectrum – and that will be difficult.
Remember how hard it was for Google to acquire Motorola? Times that by ten and you’ve got a rough idea of the difficulties Apple would face should it attempt to set up its own wireless network.
The FCC would have to award Apple the spectrum – at a cost of billions, of course – and these ‘auctions’ only take place every so often, and if one was called tomorrow it wouldn’t just be Apple bidding – all the other players would as well.
‘The battleground is set, but Apple will be the first mover,’ added Bluestein, ‘Google will have to scramble because it lacks retail distribution, experience with subscriber services and the iTunes ecosystem of content. iTunes and the iTunes Store provide Apple with one-click buying and customer care.’
Apple does also have patents related to network architecture currently pending. These were filed in 2006, according to Bluestein, and could aid Apple in its move to become a mobile network.
But this is all academic with Apple acquiring some of the US’ wireless spectrum. Sure Apple has the money to spend billions of dollars buying itself into the network business, but would the competition allow it? They’d certainly put up a fight – that’s a given.
Bluestein’s got a good theory here. It does make sense for Apple to move into the networking business. It’s just that in practice it won’t be anyway near as simple as he suggests. So while we do appreciate the idea in a theoretical way we don’t think it has any real basis in reality, at least for the foreseeable future anyway.