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Apple Will Become Mobile Operator, Says Whitey Bluestein

According to the veteran wireless industry strategist Whitey Bluestein, Apple as mobile operator can be closer than you think. Probably it will be the next big move for Apple to offer wireless services, as a mobile operator, directly to their iPhone and iPad clients, without any interference of carriers. Although this is just one of the many expert opinions, it is an interesting thought.

Whitey Bluestein has more than 25 years of experience in building and growing companies, especially in the field of wireless network strategy and mobile operating. During an international gathering of wireless operators, resellers and suppliers, Bluestein stated that Apple is rapidly moving to become a direct mobile service provider.

Apple as Mobile Operator?

Apple becoming a mobile provider is just speculation, but Bluestein really made a good point here. Especially when you look at following facts:

  • Apple has filed a patent application on October 2006. This application is recently extended. The patent describes a new way of building and functioning of a mobile network trough Dynamic Carrier Selection.
  • It is a fact that Apple would love to get rid of the ‘traditional’ SIM-card. Apple prefers to use an embedded SIM and be in the position to deliver directly to their clients. Traditional carriers like AT&T, T-Mobile and the French ‘Orange’ saw this as a big threat and declared Apple war if this idea would see the daylight. Apple withdrew it for that moment.
  • Apple has an extremely strong financial position. It is world’s most valuable brand with an impressive growth of 84% in 2011. Apple needs that strong position to finance the premiums that customers are used to get with their traditional providers.
  • Apple has a strong retail presence, both online and offline. Recently Apple reached the first place in the top 20 of US Retailer Sales per square foot. Apple sells more than twice the amount per square foot than number two on the list: Tiffany & Co.
  • Customer satisfaction is high. Customers are very loyal to the brand and every product of it.
  • The worldwide iTunes Ecosystem is an extremely strong point for Apple. The ecosystem is indispensable for subscriptions and already filled with 250 million potential clients. Apple is highly experienced in managing subscriber services.
  • And last but not least, a strong, worldwide developer community to fill the App Store.

Besides Apple, also Google can make a move in the same direction, although the Android-company lacks a few key points. Bluestein stated:

The battleground is set, but Apple will be the first mover, 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. Google can acquire most of these capabilities, as it has before, but it is not a core competency of the company.

The founder of Western Wireless, John Stanton, revealed last year that he worked with Steve Jobs, prior to the launch of the first generation iPhone, on becoming a mobile operator using the unlicensed spectrum. Stanton said:

He wanted to replace carriers, he and I spent a lot of time talking about whether synthetically you could create a carrier using Wi-Fi spectrum. That was part of his vision. If I were a carrier, I'd be concerned about the dramatic shift in power that occurred.”

Jobs reportedly abandoned the idea in 2007, obviously, before the iPhone was introduced with an exclusive carrier arrangement in the US through AT&T.

apple as mobile operator

It is no secret that Steve Jobs hated to be dependent of anyone. He would rather buy a company and grow it according to his own ideas; No independence on quality and direct contact with the clients. A huge advantage, if you have the money to start such an adventure. Did the idea died together with Steve Jobs? Or will we see this coming back shortly? As always, everything Apple is speculation. The only thing we can do is wait. Wait for Apple’s next big move!

What would you do if Apple becomes a mobile service provider? Would you follow Apple as mobile operator or would you stick with your present provider?

[via Whitey Bluestein]

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    Shehan Kankanamge9 years, 5 months ago

    hmm.. without steve jobs at the helm.. its a tall order. Dont think Cook’s got it in him!