One of the biggest gripes many consumers had when Apple released their first iteration of the iPhone was that they were limited to one carrier; AT&T. The iPhone 4 was a gold mine for AT&T, allowing them to dominate the smartphone landscape as the popularity of the iPhone grew. However, dropped calls were a constant issue, which had consumers pointing the fingers at AT&T. Meanwhile, Apple recognized that it had to deviate from the exclusivity of the iPhone on AT&T in order to grow its market share. The Verizon iPhone 4 was released and Apple saw their market share increase.
The tremendous growth of Android-based devices over the past year has overtaken the iPhone. Apple is now considering opening up the iPhone to all major carriers in order to retake their share. A recently released patent filed by Apple indicates that they are moving towards a multi-carrier model, but not a traditional one you would expect. The patent would allow Apple to act as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), allowing them to lease out service capacity from major carriers to iPhone owners. For example: if an individual with an iPhone was looking to connect to a carrier, they would have multiple carriers to choose from in their local area. If one carrier is at full capacity at a current location, the user could opt to pay for services from other carriers at a competitive fee. Apple then takes a percentage of the fee.
This opens up an enormous amount of freedom and savings for the iPhone owner. You would be able to go wherever you want, pay as little as you want, and receive better service. What’s better is that you may not be restricted to a contract, which is a very appealing selling point for Apple. Can Apple actually pull this off? Apple is trying to extend their grip over their product and major carriers. The major carriers will definitely be coming at Apple for this move. Consumers can only hope for the better end of the deal.