Apple will use its digital SIM card technology to launch a network-switching MVNO for iOS users, according to reports
Apple is reportedly conducting trials of its own Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) with a view to offering mobile services to iPhone and iPad users in the US and Europe.
The plans are an “open secret” within the telecoms industry according to Business Insider, which says Apple has held discussions with operator for a number of years. However any commercial launch is still a number of years away.
The MVNO would use Apple SIM – the embedded digital SIM card technology included in the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 – to switch between different networks depending on which is the strongest. Like customers of other MVNOS such as Virgin Media and Tesco Mobile, users would pay Apple directly rather than the operator.
Separately, Apple is also reported to be working on a new service called iCloud Voicemail, which would allow Siri to pick up calls unanswered by the user and transcribe the message, which would then be sent to the user as a text. The feature is apparently being tested by Apple employees with a view to a 2016 roll out and could be an integral part of any Apple MVNO.
Apple had not responded to TechWeekEurope’s requests for comment at the time of publication.
Rival Google is launching its own MVNO, Project Fi, later this year and like the rumoured Apple MVNO, is pitched as a ‘network of networks’. Project Fi automatically connects users to a Wi-Fi hotspot or the 4G or 3G network of its operator partners depending on which offers the strongest signal.
Such network-switching architecture is likely to spark concerns about battery life, but Google promises users will only be switched between networks when “absolutely necessary” to preserve battery life.
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