Reports on Monday have claimed Apple is investigating the possibility of launching its own mobile network for iPhone users
Business Insider sources bring word the company is testing a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) service that would allow it piggyback on existing networks at home and abroad.
Testing is underway in the US, where the report claims the company has partnered with Sprint and AT&T, while Apple is also looking for partners in Europe.
Like the recently-launched Google Project Fi network, Apple’s plans would also allow customers to hop between mobile carriers in order to pick up the best service.
The Apple SIM initiative, which makes it easier for iPad owners to switch mobile networks at the drop of a hat, will play into the plans.
The report says: “Here's how an Apple MVNO will work: Instead of paying your carrier every month, you will pay Apple directly for data, calls, and texts. Apple then provides you with everything you used to get from your carrier, but the Apple SIM switches between carriers to get the best service. The telecoms companies auction capacity to Apple so it can run the service.”
According to the report Apple plans to launch iCloud Voicemail before it allows customers to jump on board with an MVNO. This would free voicemail from carriers in much the same way Apple has been able to do with text messages through the iMessage platform.
However, despite reports tests are underway, any network launch could be at least five years away, according to Business Insider.
Rumours Apple is considering such a venture aren’t new (it first applied for a related patent in 2006), but it appears the firm is now making concrete steps in that direction.