Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

Apple Says It Has No Plans to Sell Mobile Services Directly to Consumers The company denied reports that it was testing a so-called mobile virtual network operator.

By Reuters

This story originally appeared on Reuters

Apple Inc, the world's most profitable mobile phone maker, has denied working on a plan to market communications services directly to consumers and bypass the telecom companies on which it has long relied to sell its products.

Business Insider had on Monday reported that the iPhone maker was testing a so-called mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service in the United States, which would involve it renting capacity from one or more network operators to sign up customers to its own phone and data plans.

The mobile phone maker is also in talks with European operators about such an arrangement, the website reported.

"We have not discussed nor do we have any plans to launch an MVNO," said an Apple spokeswoman in a statement on Tuesday.

Since it first launched the iPhone in 2007, carriers ranging from AT&T Inc and Deutsche Telekom AG to China Mobile Ltd have been a key part of ensuring the success of Apple's move into the mobile phone business.

The carriers buy huge numbers of mobile phones from Apple, then resell them to customers who sign long-term contracts, often at a discount. Any move to sideline the carriers by going direct to consumers is therefore risky for Apple.

Apple recently reported that it sold 48 million iPhones in the quarter through June, raking in $31.4 billion in revenue, or 63 percent of its total sales.

In order to ensure maximum coverage to its customers, Apple has moved away from an early focus on exclusive deals with single operators in key markets to work with as many operators as possible.

Last year, the company launched an own-branded Apple SIM card that allows consumers using its iPad tablet devices, but not its phones, to switch services between network operators. Several top operators in the United States and Europe support the Apple SIM.

By contrast, Silicon Valley rival Google Inc earlier this year unveiled an MVNO service in the United States.

The Google service, known as "Project Fi", is being run in conjunction with U.S. operators Sprint (S.N) and T-Mobile USA [TUII.UL]. It connects customers to the fastest available service by seeking out available local Wi-Fi hotspots before, as a backstop, connecting to the telecom networks of its partners.

Apple shares, which fell as much as 4.4 percent in the first 90 minutes of Nasdaq trading on Tuesday, steadied after the denial to be down 3.1 percent by 1642 GMT (1242 EDT).

(Editing by Georgina Prodhan and David Holmes)

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Social Media

How To Start a Youtube Channel: Step-by-Step Guide

YouTube can be a valuable way to grow your audience. If you're ready to create content, read more about starting a business YouTube Channel.

Thought Leaders

How to Become a Successful Social Entrepreneur

It's not the same as being a great business person.

Growing a Business

Want to Expand Your Market Overseas? Here's Everything You Need to Know About Global Logistics in 2024

With rising geopolitical tensions and changing market conditions it can be hard for businesses to navigate supply chain logistics even in a post-pandemic world. Here are three tips from the CEO of an international customs brokerage.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Elvis Presley's Granddaughter Fights Graceland Foreclosure, Calls Paperwork 'Forgeries'

The 13.8-acre estate was scheduled to be sold in a public foreclosure auction on Thursday. Presley's granddaughter and heir, Riley Keough, is fighting to save Graceland in court.

Franchise

What Franchising Can Teach The NFL About The Impact of Private Equity

The NFL is smart to take a thoughtful approach before approving institutional capital's investment in teams.