As part of an interview at Startup Fest Europe in Amsterdam today, Tim Cook has ruled out the possibility of Apple becoming a mobile carrier or MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator).

Apple was reported to have been trialling an MVNO service – where the company would piggy-back onto existing networks but have its own branding & tariffs – back in August of last year. The company quickly issued a denial that it had any plans to do so, but Cook has today gone further in his answer to a question by retired European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes.

Our expertise doesn’t extend to the network. We’ve worked with AT&T in the US, O2 in the UK, as well as T-Mobile and Orange, and we expanded as we learned more. But generally, the things Apple likes to do, are things we can do globally.

We don’t have the network skill. We’ll do some things along the way with e-SIMs along the way, but in general, I like the things carriers do.

So it’s likely that the embedded SIM seen in the latest iPad Pros will extend to other iDevices, but you won’t be able to buy a service plan directly from Apple.

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