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Industry Analyst: Apple May Soon Move to Provide Wireless Service Directly to Its Users

We’ve talked before about what it would be like if Apple was both our source for mobile hardware AND our service provider. It’s an idea Steve Jobs was interested in at some point, but all we’re left with is the vague notion of some sort of wireless network… But recently talk arose at the Informa MVNO Industry Summit in Barcelona, with Whitey Bluestein stating that an Apple patent application and the company’s Nano-SIM battle with Nokia could indicate big plans for the future.

First, let’s look at the reasons that this could be feasible for Apple… For one thing, they’re firmly locked into 250 million users with credit cards in the iTunes system. So the jump to offering the rumored ala carte messaging, voice, and data plans would be somewhat simplified in regards to distribution. Bluestein and Associates LLC also points to Apple’s strong retail presence and high customer satisfaction as good reasons for the company to push into the carrier industry.

…. But the business of offering mobile service is messy, and there are some substantial hurdles before something like this could happen. Primarily, the mobile industry won’t take kindly to an Apple intrusion, nor will customers whose contracts leave them in a difficult position between Apple and their current providers. There is also the issue of iPhones and their premium prices, which, as we know, are subsidized by carriers like AT&T and Verizon. Right now, it’s difficult to see a workaround for Apple.

Nonetheless, this does seem like what’s next for Apple and their continual struggle to gain more control over, well, everything… Industry experts seem convinced that both Apple and Google or working toward providing their own wireless service, so now it’s just a matter of time before one strikes first.

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