The wireless industry has been plagued with a bunch of illogical business practices, most of which were conceived to take advantage of consumers, really. On the other hand, carriers like T-Mobile have successfully exploited the sad state of the U.S. wireless industry to fix some of the most glaring customer pain points.
Apple, too, appears to have vested interest in wrestling power away from the carriers. According to Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue in the British publication The Evening Standard, the Cupertino firm is now “trying to fix” one of the wireless industry’s dirtiest tactics: exorbitant roaming charges.
27-year-veteran of Apple, Cue, 51, made an offhand comment about “trying not to get roaming charges” while in London. “It’s sad, it’s another problem,” he said. “We’re trying to fix it and we’re making a little bit of progress but you’ve got to convince a lot of people.”
Anything Apple intends on doing to tackle this issue will indeed require tremendous negotiating skills. It’s already made some baby steps, like introducing the Apple SIM card which lets customers change wireless service on the fly. Thus far, that system has enjoyed limited support from major U.S. carriers.
Another option for getting rid of exorbitant roaming charges would entail Apple becoming a VMNO by leasing spectrum from carriers and reselling wireless service to customers, a move rumored to be years in the making.
Lastly, Apple could leverage its brand and negotiating power to persuade carriers that it would be in their best interest to come together and agree upon a roaming system that would be fair to subscribers.
But as Cue said, pulling it off would entail convincing a whole lot of people. We do know, however, that such a move is perfectly feasible. First, T-Mobile has been offering free 2G data roaming in more than a hundred countries for some time now.
Secondly, Google is reportedly in talks with some carriers about free international roaming. And thirdly, Sprint recently launched free unlimited international roaming when traveling to select countries.
Obviously, something has to be done about this issue—incurring high roaming charges when using our phones overseas is too silly in today’s mobile-first world.
Source: The Evening Standard