Greg's bite: Apple, the new cell phone company?
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's bite: Apple, the new cell phone company?

Apple's Tony Fadell is named as the inventor of a novel method of using various existing cell phone company's excess capacity cobbled together to create a new Apple branded virtual cell phone network.  

The concept is that as Apple's newest iPhones and coming iPads are now able to operate on all cell phone networks around the world, buying excess network capacity in large blocks makes sense. Then Apple could resell that network access to consumers at retail prices per minute and pocket the difference. Some predicted Apple would buy an existing cellular network to get into the cellular business. That won't happen, but this new concept just might work.

Think of this as an extension of the digital download concept Apple is working on cornering with it's new data centers. This can all be done using the newly patented Apple technology without building even one cell phone tower, anywhere.  The patent was issued yesterday and is US patent #7,885,654. I have provide a link near the end of this article that will open a browser page displaying the patent.

This neat trick (which the new Verizon iPhone can now do) creates the technical possibility that Apple could do an end run around the existing carriers and open a new Apple Branded Cell Phone Network. This business model is called a MVNO or a Mobile Virtual Network Operator system. This virtual cellphone network concept is already used by Cricket, for example.  

What makes the new Apple patent different is that Cricket contracts just with Sprint and a few other smaller CDMA networks to support their brand of phones, while the Apple concept is to buy minutes on any flavor of cell phone technology with multiple carriers and use a network controller system to mix and match service from any local participating network, as needed when you make a call, text or use data.  

The retail cell phone account would be held at Apple and cellular services charged to your iTunes account. The carriers would be made into dumb wireless data pipes, that just sell bulk network time to Apple for resale to consumers.  They wouldn't even know who is using their networks.  The system might even use Wi-Fi and Apple's Internet network, when available, instead of wireless cellular networks. Who cares what "pipe" you use, as long as the call goes through and sounds good?

While most people imagine cell phone towers and the backbone networks that control them as always being overcrowded, resulting in the famous AT&T dropped cell phone call experience, the truth is that there is a normally a tremendous untapped capacity there. Most cell towers are running with only a nominal amount of activity most of the time, only reaching peek usage part of the time. This is why most carriers offer nighttime discounts for calls between certain hours or on weekends. That capacity is going to waste otherwise, so selling it cheaper is better than completely wasting it. 

The notion is that Apple could announce that they are willing to purchase, say 1,000,000 minute blocks of excess network time on any and all cellular networks. They would take the lowest bid per minute in every market. This is despite the natural reluctance of AT&T, Verizon, T-Moble and Sprint to not like the idea of Apple competing with them on their own networks.  

The notion of selling excess capacity in bulk for a giant amount of money would "talk to them" in the Steve Jobs sort of tone.  This is similar to the situation where cable TV companies allow other companies to use their networks, for a negotiated price. The FCC pushes this concept by its rules.

This basic concept has already gotten a crisp "over our dead body" response from European cell carriers who got wind of the concept, a while back.  While the knee jerk reaction is "drop dead Apple," the reality is that if competitors underbid the asking price for selling excess network capacity, that would put the holdout networks at a serious disadvantage economically.  

Something for excess network capacity beats nothing at all. The subject patent is found at this link: http://macte.ch/BOBRB61 .

Apple has both the guts and power to bring the networks to "heel! bad dog." If this were to be brought to practice, Apple could sell you the iPhone and also provide network service at competitive rates. Excess network capacity can be purchased for very low rates per minute, if done in a competitive bidding process.  

With a big gun like Apple doling out the giant chunks of money, any cell phone network that refuses to sell excess minutes to Apple will be the loser.  All the carriers know that network minutes unsold amount to a major waste of their potential income. Business is about income, in any language and culture

That's another Greg's bite for today.

(Greg Mills is currently a graphic and Faux Wall Artist in Kansas City.  Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. Greg is an Extra Class Ham Radio Operator, AB6SF,  iOS developer and web site designer.  He's also working on a solar energy startup using a patent pending process for turning waste dual pane glass window units into thermal solar panels used to heat water see: www.CottageIndustySolar.com . Married, with one daughter, Greg writes for intellectual property web sites and on Mac/Tech related issues.  See Greg's art web site at http://www.gregmills.com . He can be emailed at gregmills@mac.com )

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

6 Pokemon GO updates you can expect, acc...
Pokemon GO had a scheduled appearance at this year's San Diego Comic-Con for a while, but it was only relatively close to the show that it was upgraded to a spot in Hall H. That's the biggest venue at SDCC, one usually reserved for the largest... | Read more »
How to evolve Eevee in Pokemon GO
By now, almost everyone should be hip to how to evolve Pokemon in Pokemon GO (and if not, there's a guide for that). Just gather enough candy of the appropriate type, feed them all to the Pokemon, and evolution happens. It's a miracle that would... | Read more »
CSR Racing 2: Guide to all game modes
It might not seem like there are all that many ways to go fast in a straight line, but CSR Racing 2 begs to differ. [Read more] | Read more »
Bulb Boy (Games)
Bulb Boy 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Multi-award winning 2D point & click horror adventure about a boy with a glowing head. | Read more »
5 top free emoji keyboard apps
If we're not at peak emoji yet as a society, it feels like we definitely should be. The emoji concept has gone far beyond what anyone in Japan could have envisioned when the people there unleashed it on an unsuspecting world, but the West has... | Read more »
How to unlock more characters in Disney...
One of the big charms of Disney Emoji Blitz is seeing a wide variety of beloved Disney and Pixar characters transformed into smiling emojis. Even someone like the sneaky Randall from Monsters Inc., who probably never cracked a smile on film, is... | Read more »
Cubway (Games)
Cubway 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cubway is a journey with an abstract story of lifecycle of rebirth, called Samsara. Guide the cube through the long way full of dangers... | Read more »
Colorcube (Games)
Colorcube 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Turn pieces and blend colours in this minimal yet visually stunning puzzler.Over 200 handcrafted and challenging levels. Features... | Read more »
Doodle God Griddlers (Games)
Doodle God Griddlers 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Crusader Kings: Chronicles (Games)
Crusader Kings: Chronicles 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Crusader Kings: Chronicles is an interactive text based game that puts you in the shoes of Guy de Rose as you make... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $200 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $799.99 $200 off MSRP Their price is the... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for $200 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (sku MMGG2LL/A): $999.99 $200 off MSRP Their price is the... Read more
Free iOS Business App notably* Helps Service...
PayStudio Inc. has introduced their new business app notably* 1.0, developed for iPhone and iPod touch. notably* was specifically developed to help service and trade professionals go digital and... Read more
27-inch iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP
Amazon has 27″ iMacs on sale for $200 off MSRP including free shipping: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1799.99 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB HD iMac 5K... Read more
Mac Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2799, $200 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3799, $200... Read more
Save up to $600 with Apple refurbished Mac Pr...
Apple has Certified Refurbished Mac Pros available for up to $600 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each Mac Pro, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
Apple price trackers, updated continuously
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: - 15″... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (Apple refurbished...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros... Read more
21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 21″ 3.1GHz iMac 4K: $1379 $120 off MSRP - 21″ 2.8GHz iMac: $1199.99 $100 off MSRP - 21″ 1... Read more
Charitybuzz Set to Auction Unique Apple-1 Com...
Offering an opportunity to own the computer that sparked a revolution, on Monday, July 25, leading online charity auction platform Charitybuzz will auction what is claimed to be the world’s most... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions, Willow...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Evangelist - JAMF Software (United S...
The Apple Evangelist is responsible for building and cultivating strategic relationships with Apple 's small and mid-market business development field teams. This Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - APPLE (United...
Job Summary As an Apple Solutions Consultant, you'll be the link between our future customers and our products. You'll showcase your entrepreneurial spirit as you Read more
*Apple* Professional Learning Specialist - A...
Job Summary The Apple Professional Learning Specialist is a full-time position for one year with Apple in the Phoenix, AZ area. This position requires a high Read more
*Apple* Picker - Apple Hill Orchard (United...
Apple Hill Orchard, Co. Rte. 21,Whitehall, NY 9/7/16-10/228/16. Pick fresh market or processing apples Productivity of 60 boxes and 80 boxes processing fruit per Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.