Apple denies rumors of phone carrier service

Apple has denied reports that it will become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that would sell a phone plan directly to consumers.

Sources told Business Insider Monday that Apple was privately testing a MVNO service in the U.S. and was in talks to bring the service to Europe. An MVNO buys bulk network access from telephone companies, then sells access directly to consumers. This would allow Apple to sell data, calls, and text plans to consumers, and Apple’s SIM card would switch between carriers to get the best service depending on the location of the user.

Business Insider noted that there is no telling that the project would get out of testing, and even if it did, it would be a while before it came to users. But its sources said the project was an “open secret” among carriers.

An Apple representative has since denied the rumor to Reuters.

“We have not discussed nor do we have any plans to launch an MVNO,” the Apple spokeswoman said.

Apple’s biggest mobile competitor is in the business, though. In April, Google announced Project Fi, a partnership with Sprint and T-Mobile to bring a similar service to users of the Nexus 6. For $20 a month, users would get talk, text, Wi-Fi tethering, and international coverage as well as a data plan that would refund users for unused data. Project Fi would automatically connect users to open Wi-Fi hotspots and switch between Sprint and T-Mobile service to deliver 4G LTE connection.

Users can request an invite to Project Fi on the official website.

Photo: Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering for Apple, presents new features of iOS 7 for the iPhone at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 10, 2013.  (Gary Reyes/ Bay Area News Group)


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