Apple denies plans to launch MVNO service, despite holding wireless patents

Apple has a tendency to say one thing and do another, the larger iPhone and iPad being just two examples of past promises that were broken. The company released a statement earlier today claiming it has no plans to launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in Europe or the United States, contrary to reports earlier this week.

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

Even though the statement doesn’t go any further than that, it is enough to say Apple does not want to publicly talk about MVNO. Looking at Apple’s attitude towards leaks, this either means the company is uncomfortable even hinting at it or truthfully has no intentions.

When the electric car leaks started floating around, Apple hinted at the car being an area that needs a change. Jony Ive spoke about cars with the New Yorker, and other executives from Fiat and Ford all but confirmed Apple is working on the car.

This time, Apple is silent. There is good reason for this, since an MVNO would be an affront on mobile carrier's business. Apple needs to make sure everything is ready before dropping the bomb that it will take control of the entire mobile operation.

Even though it is apparently in talks with mobile carriers, we doubt Verizon, AT&T or EE and O2 are on the list. Instead, Apple will be in talks with the smaller carriers to build up a foundation before speaking to the big guys.

There is also the worry that an MVNO would be held up by regulators in the US and EU. Apple already asks for a lot of the control with the iPhone, taking over the carrier business might be a bit too much for one company. It would also drastically reduce the competition in the carrier industry, by installing a non-removable Apple SIM.

There’s plenty of reasons to remain quiet, but we doubt Apple is completely out of the game. The renewal of several patents directly tied to MVNO services points to future plans by Apple for this type of service, and reports indicated around five years before we see this type of service.