Technology companies and cellular carriers have a tense relationship. Each party is dependant on the other for survival. But what if an electronics manufacturer became a cellular carrier? In a report published by Business Insider's James Cook, Apple might be aiming to do just that.
Sources close to Apple say the company is privately trialling an MVNO service in the US but is also in talks with telecoms companies in Europe about bringing the service there too.
An MVNO is a virtual carrier network that sees technology companies lease space from established carriers and sell it to customers directly.
So if Apple is leasing equipment from other cellular carriers, how does this change things? Well, in this scenario the customer would pay Apple for all monthly cellular charges. Apple can also switch between carriers using its own custom SIM in order to provide the best network service. The report claims that Apple probably won't be able to launch such a service for another five years.
Apple is also testing a service that would allow Siri to answer calls instead of a pre-recorded voicemail message. Siri would be able to transcribe voicemail so users could read it as a text, which is more efficient than sifting through multiple audio messages. This "iCloud Voicemail" service could also tell the caller where the user is and why he/she cannot pick up the phone. It's possible this service will launch sometime in 2016 with the release of iOS 10.
It's not a secret that smartphone makers want to move into the cellular business and cut out the middlemen that are the carriers. Google has already began such an endeavour with its Project Fi. It's quite possible that in the future, carriers will simply be building and maintaining the infrastructure behind the scenes, while more front facing companies like Apple and Google handle the contracts and customer relations.
Apple has denied the rumour that it is interested in creating its own MVNO.