Veteran wireless industry strategist Whitey Bluestein, who has managed strategic deals for the likes of AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, has claimed that Apple Inc is poised to offer wireless connectivity directly to iPhone and iPad users. According to technology website BGR.com, Bluestein told the Informa MVNO Industry Summit in Barcelona: ‘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’. Bluestein, who was delivering the keynote speech at the conference, said that the main stumbling block is the enormous handset subsidies paid by mobile operators, which he says amount to around USD381 for each iPhone sold.
According to the strategist, Apple has the distribution channels, digital content portfolio and customer base to make the move, Bluestein says, and it also has more than 250 million credit cards on file for iTunes users who could be billed directly for wireless service. Further, Bluestein noted that Apple has patent-pending network architecture, with patents filed back in 2006, that will enable its move into the mobile sector. Bluestein concluded: ‘The company has its well-known cash reserves and could seize the initiative at any point.’