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While most of us expect Apple's next big move to be into the flatscreen TV arena, one expert reckons the tech giant might be about to spread its wings in a different direction and encroach on another market.
Wireless industry expert Whitey Bluestein (excellent name) believes Apple is plotting to launch its own wireless mobile data network and sell bundles for its iOS gadgets like the iPhone and iPad.
The company traditionally sells mobile data through third party networks like O2 and Orange in the UK and AT&T and Verizon Wireless in the US, but Bluestein reckons Apple has the cash, the patent portfolio and the desire to cut those carriers out of the game and risk open warfare.
In a note to investors, Bluestein says Google will also make the move, but Apple has the advantage as its entire ecosystem is set-up through iTunes, Apple Care and the brick-and-mortar retail stores.
He wrote: “The battleground is set, but Apple will be the first mover. Google will have to scramble because it lacks retail distribution, experience with subscriber services and the iTunes ecosystem of content. iTunes and the iTunes Store provide Apple with one-click buying and customer care. Google can acquire most of these capabilities, as it has before, but it is not a core competency of the company.”
The one thing stopping Apple going on its own is its lack of mobile spectrum, but with the 4G auctions upcoming in the United Kingdom, whenever Ofcom decides to pull its finger out, might Apple be a surprise bidder at that table?
Another key hurdle for the company to overcome would be the subsidies on iOS devices currently eaten by the networks when they sign customers on for two years, but with Apple's $110 billion in stockpiled cash just laying around, one would think they could afford to take that initial hit.