Steve Jobs Wanted Apple To Create Cellular Network Using Unlicensed Wi-Fi Spectrum To Bypass Carriers


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The IDG News Service reports that Steve Jobs’s original plan for the iPhone was to bypass carriers entirely using a network owned and run by Apple.

John Stanton, a chairman at the venture capital firm Trilogy Partnership and a legend in the mobile industry, answered questions during an interview that was part of the Law Seminars International conference in Seattle yesterday. While discussing the future of the mobile industry, he talked about his interaction with Steve Jobs.

Stanton has spent a long time working in the mobile industry. He worked at McCaw Cellular, which later became AT&T Wireless, and later founded Western Wireless. This latter company started Voicestream, which went on to be acquired by Deutsche Telekom in 2001 and became T-Mobile. Western Wireless was acquired by Alltel in 2005.

In the period between 2005 and 2007, Stanton and Jobs met frequently to discuss Jobs’s dream of creating his own network, presumably for the original iPhone. Stanton and Jobs discussed at length the possibilities of using the unlicensed part of the Wi-Fi spectrum to create a network that could give Jobs complete control over the end-user experience.

“He wanted to replace carriers,” Stanton said of Jobs, the Apple founder and CEO who passed away recently after a battle with cancer. “He and I spent a lot of time talking about whether synthetically you could create a carrier using Wi-Fi spectrum. That was part of his vision.”

Ultimately, Jobs found this to be unfeasible, but Stanton went on to praise Jobs’s efforts and the overall impact he had.

“If I were a carrier, I’d be concerned about the dramatic shift in power that occurred,” he said.

Stanton’s advice to carriers was to take risks on newer devices and services instead of investing on well-established products, as companies like Apple and Google are making money that may have originally gone to them.

[via Macworld]

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  • dee82

    steve was thinking and pushing for a global network takeover-screwing providers in the process it wouldve been great to see it off the ground

    • Zolk

      Hahahahahaha!! 😀

    • ctrev08

      Ya then apple could have complete control he was a visionary. He could of been the next lennon or Stalin. To bad he passed and were stuck with freedom of choice and competive pricing.

      • pistol

        really lennon? like john lennon? or do you mean Vladimir Lenin? now you just sound stupid

  • Ryan Grill

    Isnt this similar to what Google envisioned years ago?

  • fas

    If this would have worked, Apple would do pure monoply, not so good for customers.

    • LoganExplosion

      >$85 a month for the MINIMUM of minutes, text and data. That’s only 200MB/mo (!) people. -is not so good for customers either..
      The only way it could be less is if i could somehow get on the senior citizen plan.
      Can’t wait for my contract to be up!

      #FUATT

  • Bruh

    Actually, since the average consumer’s price elasticity of demand is relatively elastic, if Apple charged too much for their services, consumers would continue purchasing mobile data plans from carriers instead. Economics bruh…