MVNO ▪ August 5

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Would you switch to Apple as a cellular provider? That’s the big question this week. Apple denied these reports, but there may be some details in this denial that lead other places. Speaking of unannounced and rumored Apple products, it looks like there’s new information on Project Titan, which could be a Cupertino-made electric car. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed.

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MVNO ▪ August 4

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Apple today denied a recent report that the company is in the process of testing out its own Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) services, a sign it could be laying the groundwork to offer its own wireless services for its devices. Apple has officially issued a statement on the story from Business Insider, saying it’s not planning or discussing an MVNO cellular service: expand full story

MVNO ▪ August 3

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apple-sim

Following the iCloud voicemail transcription news from earlier today, Business Insider is reporting that Apple may actually be following Google’s Project Fi  into the “becoming a carrier” field.

Sources close to Apple say that the company is privately trialling an MVNO service in the US, but is also currently in talks with telecoms companies in Europe about bringing the service there too.

MVNO or Mobile Virtual Network Operator  is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which the MVNO provides services to its customers. Google’s Project Fi uses Sprint and T-Mobile’s infrastructure and combines them to become a “super-carrier”.

Apple of course announced the so far iPad-limited Apple SIM last year which allows you to choose between a handful of network carriers for iPad data on a month to month basis.

Three weeks ago, the UK-based FT reported that Apple and Samsung were in talks with carriers to launch “e-SIM” cards and and Apple MVNO service might be an evolution of that.

The idea behind the talks is a universal standard for embedded SIM cards (“e-SIM”) that are built into the phone and not user accessible. These subscriber identity modules would allow customers to sign up for service on any network they wanted, then allow them to switch at any time (obviously with some limitations placed by the carriers).

Apple isn’t the only smartphone manufacturer in these discussions. Samsung is also reported to be part of the talks, meaning this tech could become a real standard across iPhone and Android devices, unlike Apple’s current SIM which is locked specifically to the company’s hardware.

Apple has a long history of flirting with the MVNO business with an insider revealing that Steve Jobs wanted Apple to become a carrier before the release of the iPhone (if only!). Telecom vet and former CTIA chairman John Stanton had worked with Jobs on the project… expand full story

MVNO ▪ February 11

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Sources say Sprint is dropping a requirement that made the mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) using its network—such as Ting, FreedomPop, Straight Talk, Boost, and Virgin—wait a certain period of time, usually at least a year, before offering support for the latest devices. expand full story

MVNO ▪ February 25, 2014

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Update, March 11: As expected, Ting just confirmed official iPhone 5 support. It expects support for the iPhone 5s and 5c to come by September. Full details in our original article below:

Soon users will be able to activate their unlocked Sprint iPhone 5 on Ting, the Tucows-owned Sprint MVNO offering no-contract wireless service and usage-based billing. Late last year we reported that the company had made a deal with Apple and Sprint to begin supporting iPhones. At the time the bring-your-own-device support was limited to the iPhone 4 and 4S and sources told us iPhone 5 support was held up by Sprint, which doesn’t typically offer popular devices to its smaller carrier partners until they are at least a generation or two behind. Now, with the iPhone 5s & 5c on the market for almost half a year, sources say Sprint and Apple are finally ready to give Ting the go ahead for iPhone 5 support. expand full story

MVNO ▪ May 9, 2013

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As we reported last week, AT&T today launched its new pre-paid wireless MVNO called Aio Wireless with the iPhone 5 on offer, front and center. Currently, the service is only available in Houston, Orlando and Tampa but it is expected to roll out nationally over the coming months.

The company will offer 4 plans: Aio Basic, Smart and Pro phone plans at $35-40 for 250MB, $55 for 2GB and $70/month for 7GB data respectively. Each plan will shift to lower speed data after data is used up and also offers unlimited calls and text on AT&T’s network. They will also offer a tablet plan that starts at $15/month for 250MB.

The MVNO will carry Android, Windows and Apple smartphones including iPhone 4S for $499 and iPhone 5 for $649 without subsidy. They also cap 4G data at 4Mb/s so LTE speeds shouldn’t be expected.

Clearly this, as well as Verizon’s upcoming MVNO-like service, will address the competition from T-Mobile and other pre-paid carriers.

Press release and rate plans follow: expand full story

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