Twenty-four hours after Business Insider claimed knowledge that Apple has been in talks to launch a mobile virtual network service (MVNO) in the United States and Europe, a company representative has refuted the claim in an official statement given to Reuters.
The company has not discussed such plans and is in fact not planning an MVNO cellular service, contrary to the reports it was planning on doing that.
“We have not discussed nor do we have any plans to launch an MVNO,” said an Apple spokeswoman in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday.
Business Insider basically said Apple would sell cellular data, voice and texts directly to consumers and simplify billing by charging their iTunes credit card on file.
Rather than own wireless spectrum or run its own network infrastructure, the company would purchase bulk access to existing network services at wholesale rates.
“Telecoms sources say Apple is looking long-term with its MVNO and could take at least five years to fully launch the service,” reads the original report.
“Apple has been in talks with telecoms companies for years over its MVNO plans, those sources say, adding that it’s an ‘open secret’ among carriers that a virtual Apple network is on the way.”
While talk of Apple becoming an MVNO has persisted for years and can be traced all the way back to the original iPhone introduction in 2007, there’s a “slight” problem: in becoming an MVNO, Apple would effectively bypass telecom operators.
But that would be wonderful, I hear you say.
Yes, but you also have to consider the undeniable fact that wireless carriers provide Apple with countless points of sale, marketing and strong distribution networks which all helps deliver iPhones to nearly every part of the globe.
Without carriers, the iPhone would be dead in the water.
By becoming an MVNO, Apple would be running a risk of alienating its most important customers—wireless carriers—and that’s precisely why Apple has now publicly denied the story and distanced itself from Business Insider’s reporting.
In fact, this is the first time the company has officially addressed the Apple MVNO rumor.