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iPhone carrier ranking, selection concept revealed in Apple filing

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 
Future users could compare the prices and features of competing carriers and service plans directly on their iPhone, bypassing the need to deal directly with service providers, a new Apple filing shows.

The concept is detailed in a new patent application published this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office entitled "Method and Apparatus for Using a Wireless Communication Device with Multiple Service Providers." Discovered by AppleInsider, the proposed invention would have a set of stores carrier service configuration profiles available on an iPhone.

Apple could help users find the carrier that is best for them by ranking the features and prices of service providers based on personal preferences. For example, some users may be interested primarily in voice plans, while others may need features like unlimited text messaging.

Based on a user's needs, Apple's system could assign a priority ranking to carriers and their respective configuration profiles, allowing users to easily find a plan and provider that are right for them.

Last year, Apple was rumored to be exploring this very concept, as the company was said to be developing a new open SIM standard that would make an iPhone capable of working with multiple carriers. Such a move would allow users to shop for mobile service directly from Apple's handset.

Apple's interest in this outraged some carriers, who felt the method would marginalize their role in courting customers. Carriers in Europe subsequently threatened to cut subsidies for the iPhone if Apple pursued those plans.

The new patent filing would seem to confirm those rumors, detailing how such a concept might work on a so-called "world phone" capable of operating on multiple carriers with an open SIM card standard.



In the document, Apple notes that handset manufacturers must currently ship multiple versions of the same device, with each customized for a particular wireless service provider. Apple would prefer to be able to distribute generic versions of the iPhone throughout the world, compatible with nearly all carriers.

In addition to flexibility for Apple, the concept would also allow greater choice for the consumer. The filing explains that some users may prefer to use the same mobile device at different times with different wireless service providers.



Apple's solution is a "customized user experience" created automatically, with the combination of compatible hardware and software allowing users to seamlessly switch carriers without the need to buy a new phone or obtain a new SIM card.

The proposed invention, made public this week, was first filed in April of 2010. It is credited to Robert Kukuchka, Shuvo Chatterjee, Arun Godfrey Mathias, and Matthew Klahn.
post #2 of 35
This patent is pointless, it's not a technical constraint that prevents dynamic carrier switching - it's a business constraint.
post #3 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

This patent is pointless, it's not a technical constraint that prevents dynamic carrier switching - it's a business constraint.

When you have the best selling phone in the free world (what, is it only iran, cuba and north Korea in the 'non-free' world), business 'constraints' become 'negotiation points'.

When (not if) you get to 'buy as you go' iPhones (buy the iPhone without subsidies), and you show up in a town, where you don't have coverage (or want to change coverage), this function allows you to 'shop' for a a month to month or a minutes plan on the fly, select, pay apple with your ITMS account, and connect.

Welcome to the future. Carriers become big dumb wireless data pipes. Apple controlling point of sale. Curated telco service. NewSpeak, Soylent Green and all that.

This combined with the ability to have 'soft SIM' cards, will allow you to mix and match your call phone service. For me, having a ATT and an Sprint 'SIM' and the ability to buy minutes when I go visit Mom in the back country, is exactly what I want. And all paid through ITMS.

Brilliant.
post #4 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

This patent is pointless, it's not a technical constraint that prevents dynamic carrier switching - it's a business constraint.

Indeed, yet we can still hope that somehow SJ will pave an agreement here just like he did for digital music not so long ago. This would be so good for the consumer.
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post #5 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

When you have the best selling phone in the free world (what, is it only iran, cuba and north Korea in the 'non-free' world), business 'constraints' become 'negotiation points'.

When (not if) you get to 'buy as you go' iPhones (buy the iPhone without subsidies), and you show up in a town, where you don't have coverage (or want to change coverage), this function allows you to 'shop' for a a month to month or a minutes plan on the fly, select, pay apple with your ITMS account, and connect.

Welcome to the future. Carriers become big dumb wireless data pipes. Apple controlling point of sale. Curated telco service. NewSpeak, Soylent Green and all that.

This combined with the ability to have 'soft SIM' cards, will allow you to mix and match your call phone service. For me, having a ATT and an Sprint 'SIM' and the ability to buy minutes when I go visit Mom in the back country, is exactly what I want. And all paid through ITMS.

Brilliant.

I couldn't agree more.

Every time I travel it is a nightmare, and I had to rely on jailbreaks to use plans that were acceptable and not international spine breaking rates. Not to mention that I had to change numbers and several other issues, while spending hours checking which carrier would actually give me what I wanted.

Thumbs up for that to take off!
post #6 of 35
A universal SIM would be great and hopefully foster more competition between carriers.

I am not sure how that work here since we really only have two carriers. I guess you could leave AT&T for Verizon or vice versa, but given that most people sign up for two-year contracts, how useful would a universal SIM be? On top of that, AT&T charges an obscene amount of money for international roaming, so would a universal SIM allow for a traveler to choose another carrier while traveling overseas?

Frankly, I'd be happy with a more European-like system where we have an option to buy our phones and pick a carrier or even choose with a pay-as-you-go plan.

I love America, but I really hate how the carriers have a stranglehold on wireless customers.
post #7 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

This patent is pointless, it's not a technical constraint that prevents dynamic carrier switching - it's a business constraint.

To be fair, this patent envisions and depends on overcoming a technical constraint (SIMs), as well as the business constraint. Also the "business constraint" is almost always presented to the user by the carrier *as* a technical constraint.

Meaning that they've spent years pretending that this sort of thing is some kind of rocket science and the fact that you are locked to a carrier is unfortunate but "just the way things are." With this, and with the idea of using integrated programmable SIMs, Apple is basically calling the Emperor out on his lack of clothing.

There is no technical reason in the world why carriers should be anything but dumb pipes, and the business reasons for it only apply if you are the carrier. It doesn't do anyone else's business any good for them to be controlling the strings, in fact it's actively detrimental to the ecosystem as a whole.
post #8 of 35
Users should be able to dynamically switch carriers on a per-call (or service) basis, with the user (and perhaps the phone) helping with the selection based on price, QoS, and other factors. So when I'm overseas a local provider is likely to be cheaper than my home network. When I automatically pick up a WiFi hotspot, VoIP may be better than the strongest cell provider.

Surely this would be an open and fair market, quite the opposite of the monopoly currently enjoyed by our blood-sucking cell carriers. The argument, as I understand it, is that they invest so much in building their network and infrastructure, that they must be allowed to execute as a monopoly. But surely if none are a monopoly, then the strength of their network (not just price but also quality and bandwidth) will determine whose network is actually used.

Brave new world, but it really is time the regulators made this a reality.
post #9 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

When

Brilliant.

That's what I'd like to know...
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post #10 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

Welcome to the future. Carriers become big dumb wireless data pipes. Apple controlling point of sale. Curated telco service. NewSpeak, Soylent Green and all that. . . . Brilliant.

You are brilliant, TOG! And right on the mark.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post

Indeed, yet we can still hope that somehow SJ will pave an agreement here just like he did for digital music not so long ago. This would be so good for the consumer.

Keep smiling 77. You are sooo right. I believe, I pray it's not just a dream, that SJ wants a better world and indeed wants what is good for the consumer, aka every individual sentient being.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cxc273 View Post

I love America, but I really hate how the carriers have a stranglehold on wireless customers.

You are so right, cxc. Big Business and Special Interests have a strangle-hold on your nation but I have faith that Americans will rise up and return democracy to their nation. To quote Michael Moore, A businessman will sell you the rope to hang himself.

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post #11 of 35
The real sticking point has already been raised by the carriers threatening to withdraw iPhone subsidies. However, Apple now has the clout to overcome this threat by offering customers an annual "contract" for "universal" service. That contract would include carriers as "partners" enabling access to a wide range of them if not all of them. In essence, Apple would provide a store front for telco services. Apple would collect usage fees via the iTunes store, take its cut and then send the balance to the participating telcos. There will be a great hue and cry from telcos over this but that would eventually be resolved as the telcos found their costs declining and their revenue increasing.
post #12 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple could help users find the carrier that is best for them by ranking the features and prices of service providers based on personal preferences. For example, some users may be interested primarily in voice plans, while others may need features like unlimited text messaging.

Like any competent shopping website?

If this patent gets issued, I will have lost all faith in the PTO.
post #13 of 35
I see a general redux in data pricing structures, just as we've seen with information delivery given the advent of the internet.

We've seen the condensing of various mediums develop at an intense pace over the past twenty years and it's only just ramping up. Consider magazines to e-zines to blogs to RSS feeds. That's what will happen to data delivery once the infrastructure is established. Without the infrastructure, the monopolies maintain their stranglehold.

The implementation of a patent like this, even if it releases with no initial support, paves the way for new structure that, while good for the consumer, forces the carriers to compete at new levels. The biggest hurdle for Apple will be convincing said carriers, and we know they won't release a service like this without support. It's a disgrace that carriers have been allowed such power to prevent the progress of ideas like this (which aren't new; we just need a super-power like Apple to get behind the mule).

Eventually, carriers will realize that what's good for the consumer is good for business, but it's going to take work. If customers can switch carriers on the fly, there is an obvious need for pro-rated service. After pro-rated service is established, the next smallest step is pay-as-you-go.

It's a no-brainer. We'll get there, and then we'll be buying bytes instead of minutes. Voice as data means minutes are an obfuscation, manufactured by the carriers to imply value where no value is added. So when you run out of data, you just compare the going rate for bytes between carriers and buy more.
post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by evad View Post

The argument, as I understand it, is that they invest so much in building their network and infrastructure, that they must be allowed to execute as a monopoly.

I've heard that, in many cases, it's the government that's actually funded the initial build-out of cellular networks in some areas and then sold them at firesale prices to the carriers. Which wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. Dumb pipes indeed...
 
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post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleLover2 View Post

Like any competent shopping website?

If this patent gets issued, I will have lost all faith in the PTO.

So where are all these competent shopping sites which allow you to compare all the available networks on your device (which, note, hasn't been activated for use yet), and then immediately activates your device to be used on one of those carriers?

Note: Patent != Appleinsider summary of patent. Its usually far more complex (and specific) than what can be presented in the media.
post #16 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

There is no technical reason in the world why carriers should be anything but dumb pipes, and the business reasons for it only apply if you are the carrier. It doesn't do anyone else's business any good for them to be controlling the strings, in fact it's actively detrimental to the ecosystem as a whole.

Absolutely but turkeys don't vote for christmas as we say here in the UK. Carriers won't accept SIM-less phones until they absolutely have to, the iPhone has significant market presence, but I'm unconvinced that Apple is willing to anger every single carrier worldwide by demanding they support a SIM-less solution that they are adamantly opposed to.

Apple was able to steer the music industry because they were over a barrel, carriers aren't - but a SIM-less handset system would put them there, and they know it.

Would this be great for Apple? Yes. Would this be great for the consumer? Yes. But this would be the end of the world as we know it for carriers, and they're fully aware of it.
post #17 of 35
Apple has interesting problem; they sell more iPhones outside of the US than in the US but their thinking and development is very US-focused. The mobile market in the US is one of the very few where competition is relatively limited as carriers use different technologies. This also means that the connection between the device and the subscription/network is very closed.

In other parts of the world the connection is much softer or doesn't even exist. I have never owned a locked phone and I will never buy a premium subsidized phone -- I don't plan to live in any 12-24-36 month cycles, I want to use the device I want in the network I want. I have bought only two subsidized devices, couldn't resist buying a $10/month package that included an Android phone and unlimited data..

When roaming abroad it would be nice to see the price structure for each available carrier. But it will take a while until they are anything one wouldn't consider expensive..
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

To be fair, this patent envisions and depends on overcoming a technical constraint (SIMs), as well as the business constraint. Also the "business constraint" is almost always presented to the user by the carrier *as* a technical constraint.

Meaning that they've spent years pretending that this sort of thing is some kind of rocket science and the fact that you are locked to a carrier is unfortunate but "just the way things are." With this, and with the idea of using integrated programmable SIMs, Apple is basically calling the Emperor out on his lack of clothing.

There is no technical reason in the world why carriers should be anything but dumb pipes, and the business reasons for it only apply if you are the carrier. It doesn't do anyone else's business any good for them to be controlling the strings, in fact it's actively detrimental to the ecosystem as a whole.

And one of the ways the carriers reinforced this was by convincing the FCC that they should be allowed to operate on different frequency sets, thus ensuring (up until recently) that you tended to want to stay with a carrier because it was such a pain to switch.

Whether Apple is ultimately successful in driving depends on how much Android marketshare reinforces the old model (an aspect of the "platform" that most fans tend to pointedly ignore in favor of the openness of the hardware), and how well Apple is able to convince the carriers to come along for the ride. This is an issue primarily here in the US. Europe wasn't quite gullible.
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post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

So where are all these competent shopping sites which allow you to compare all the available networks on your device (which, note, hasn't been activated for use yet), and then immediately activates your device to be used on one of those carriers?

The prior art is that shopping sites let you determine criteria for selection based upon what you consider important.
post #20 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by theothergeoff View Post

when you have the best selling phone in the free world (what, is it only iran, cuba and north korea in the 'non-free' world), business 'constraints' become 'negotiation points'.

When (not if) you get to 'buy as you go' iphones (buy the iphone without subsidies), and you show up in a town, where you don't have coverage (or want to change coverage), this function allows you to 'shop' for a a month to month or a minutes plan on the fly, select, pay apple with your itms account, and connect.

Welcome to the future. Carriers become big dumb wireless data pipes. Apple controlling point of sale. Curated telco service. Newspeak, soylent green and all that.

This combined with the ability to have 'soft sim' cards, will allow you to mix and match your call phone service. For me, having a att and an sprint 'sim' and the ability to buy minutes when i go visit mom in the back country, is exactly what i want. And all paid through itms.

Brilliant.

+++qft
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post #21 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by flowney View Post

The real sticking point has already been raised by the carriers threatening to withdraw iPhone subsidies. However, Apple now has the clout to overcome this threat by offering customers an annual "contract" for "universal" service. That contract would include carriers as "partners" enabling access to a wide range of them if not all of them. In essence, Apple would provide a store front for telco services. Apple would collect usage fees via the iTunes store, take its cut and then send the balance to the participating telcos. There will be a great hue and cry from telcos over this but that would eventually be resolved as the telcos found their costs declining and their revenue increasing.

Kinda' an Apple MVNO.

I like that!

I would like it if I had the choice to designate a provider, at any time, to get better price or performance for a specific task, e.g. streaming a movie, uploading/downloading large files.

I suspect that the next iPad will have enhanced capablity to ingest, edit and upload video from a remote site: soccer field, battle field, riot...
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post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudgazer View Post

Carriers won't accept SIM-less phones until they absolutely have to, the iPhone has significant market presence, but I'm unconvinced that Apple is willing to anger every single carrier worldwide by demanding they support a SIM-less solution that they are adamantly opposed to.

Apple's plan to offer a SIM-less phone may already be in action.

Just a few months ago, Apple started selling carrier-unlocked, unsubsidized iPhone 4s in the U.S. They could use the sales of these handsets to gauge demand and price tolerance for a carrier-independent iPhone. When enough people have switched to buying iPhones outright, Apple can start selling these unsubsidized, carrier-unlocked iPhones alongside the carrier-locked offerings.

This will upset the carriers, but if Apple plays its cards right, the carriers will have no choice but to accept the change.
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by evad View Post

Users should be able to dynamically switch carriers on a per-call (or service) basis, with the user (and perhaps the phone) helping with the selection based on price, QoS, and other factors. So when I'm overseas a local provider is likely to be cheaper than my home network. When I automatically pick up a WiFi hotspot, VoIP may be better than the strongest cell provider.

Surely this would be an open and fair market, quite the opposite of the monopoly currently enjoyed by our blood-sucking cell carriers. The argument, as I understand it, is that they invest so much in building their network and infrastructure, that they must be allowed to execute as a monopoly. But surely if none are a monopoly, then the strength of their network (not just price but also quality and bandwidth) will determine whose network is actually used.

Brave new world, but it really is time the regulators made this a reality.

Yes, but... regulators have the canny ability of making things worse!

Believe me, I have no love for telephone carriers or cable carriers,

But, they have taken a certain amount of risk, invested resources and deserve a fair return on their investments.

But, they should not be immune from failure or competition by poorly thought-out and implemented regulations.

Often, regulations award monopolies and stifle competition by raising the entry threshold.

I can remember when the US (and much of the world) had 1 phone carrier (T) Bell Telephone,

You had dependable service and predictable costs -- but very little excitement or innovation.

Often, though, regulated monopolies can be beneficial to the general public by reducing infrastructure clutter and costs -- public water,gas and electric utilities are, often, good examples,

My only point here is that regulations should allow competition, innovation -- yet provide for entry of new companies and technologies.

I think that a company like Apple should be free to compete, fairly*, in the regulated airwaves, interstate commerce and cable networks -- should they wish to do so.


* yes, I mean legally, ethically and morally
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post #24 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by am8449 View Post

Apple's plan to offer a SIM-less phone may already be in action.

Just a few months ago, Apple started selling carrier-unlocked, unsubsidized iPhone 4s in the U.S. They could use the sales of these handsets to gauge demand and price tolerance for a carrier-independent iPhone. When enough people have switched to buying iPhones outright, Apple can start selling these unsubsidized, carrier-unlocked iPhones alongside the carrier-locked offerings.

This will upset the carriers, but if Apple plays its cards right, the carriers will have no choice but to accept the change.

Plus, if Apple offers older iPhone models for reasonable prices unsubsidized, it will likely generate a lot more interest (and knowledge about) the benefits of getting an iPhone that way (and start the ball rolling). Can't wait...
 
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post #25 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

[...] Apple's interest in this outraged some carriers, who felt the method would marginalize their role in courting customers. Carriers in Europe subsequently threatened to cut subsidies for the iPhone if Apple pursued those plans. [...]

The carriers are fighting the inevitable, tooth and nail. Desperately trying to maintain their grip on their customer bases. Promoting themselves as different and better than the other guy, despite their descent into generic commodity providers. Like different brands of bleach.

I personally don't give a toasted sh!t about AT&T's web site or advertising or Verizon's web site or advertising. Directly comparing their pricing somewhere, anywhere, like on iPhone, is a great idea.

If Apple is eventually allowed to provide users with comparison shopping like this, I see two more things that could eventually happen (but probably won't):

1. On-the-fly carrier selection: choose whichever carrier has the strongest signal wherever you happen to be at the moment and use that one. The iPhone or iPad could automatically choose between, say, AT&T and Verizon. You wouldn't need to know which one was in use at the moment. And every month you'd pay Apple instead of any particular carrier.

2. Elimination of separate voice and data "plans." The "real 4G" spec requires combining voice and data into a single internet packet stream, so there would be no technical reason to charge separately for voice and data. The recent "3.9G" LTE technology still uses separate voice and data connections (not to mention vastly slower speeds than the 4G spec's 100Mb/s for high mobility users (on planes, cars, etc.) and 1Gb/s for low mobility users (pedestrians, fixed position terminals.) It's basically a faster 3G.

The cell carriers will fight #1 to the death. They want to lock in their users. And the real reason Sprint et al are claiming that LTE is a "4G" network is to confuse the issue. They don't want #2 to ever happen. They don't want their users to know that 4G networks, when they are finally rolled out, will combine voice and data. They want you to pay for separate plans. I'm sure their spreadsheets tell them that separate plans are more profitable.

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post #26 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhikl View Post

You are so right, cxc. Big Business and Special Interests have a strangle-hold on your nation but I have faith that Americans will rise up and return democracy to their nation. To quote Michael Moore, A businessman will sell you the rope to hang himself.

Actually, I think the quote is attributed to Karl Marx or Vladimir Lenin....


Quote:
The Soviet Union's V.I.Lenin said it best: "A capitalist is someone who will sell us the rope to hang him with."


Be that as it may, Michael Moore is of the same socio-political persuasion.
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post #27 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

The carriers are fighting the inevitable, tooth and nail. Desperately trying to maintain their grip on their customer bases. Promoting themselves as different and better than the other guy, despite their descent into generic commodity providers. Like different brands of bleach.

I personally don't give a toasted sh!t about AT&T's web site or advertising or Verizon's web site or advertising. Directly comparing their pricing somewhere, anywhere, like on iPhone, is a great idea.

If Apple is eventually allowed to provide users with comparison shopping like this, I see two more things that could eventually happen (but probably won't):

1. On-the-fly carrier selection: choose whichever carrier has the strongest signal wherever you happen to be at the moment and use that one. The iPhone or iPad could automatically choose between, say, AT&T and Verizon. You wouldn't need to know which one was in use at the moment. And every month you'd pay Apple instead of any particular carrier.

2. Elimination of separate voice and data "plans." The "real 4G" spec requires combining voice and data into a single internet packet stream, so there would be no technical reason to charge separately for voice and data. The recent "3.9G" LTE technology still uses separate voice and data connections (not to mention vastly slower speeds than the 4G spec's 100Mb/s for high mobility users (on planes, cars, etc.) and 1Gb/s for low mobility users (pedestrians, fixed position terminals.) It's basically a faster 3G.

The cell carriers will fight #1 to the death. They want to lock in their users. And the real reason Sprint et al are claiming that LTE is a "4G" network is to confuse the issue. They don't want #2 to ever happen. They don't want their users to know that 4G networks, when they are finally rolled out, will combine voice and data. They want you to pay for separate plans. I'm sure their spreadsheets tell them that separate plans are more profitable.

Right On!

Especially: "Promoting themselves as different and better than the other guy, despite their descent into generic commodity providers."

... how about a new word to describe that... say, genericnicityness.
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post #28 of 35
The carriers should be marginalized. They are nothing more than utility companies getting in the way of innovation. I can't wait for Apple to buy one of them and butt f@&$ the entire industry!!!

Imagine ATT's shift in board meeting strategy discussion-

"Well, we WERE going to meet about the effectiveness of our public relations campaign in convincing consumers that eliminating unlimited data plans is actually giving them 'options,' but now we need to address the fact that Apple just bought Sprint, renamed it the 'iNetwork,' and don't give a f@&$ if it makes money for them..."
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

The carriers are fighting the inevitable, tooth and nail. Desperately trying to maintain their grip on their customer bases. Promoting themselves as different and better than the other guy, despite their descent into generic commodity providers. Like different brands of bleach.

I personally don't give a toasted sh!t about AT&T's web site or advertising or Verizon's web site or advertising. Directly comparing their pricing somewhere, anywhere, like on iPhone, is a great idea.

If Apple is eventually allowed to provide users with comparison shopping like this, I see two more things that could eventually happen (but probably won't):

1. On-the-fly carrier selection: choose whichever carrier has the strongest signal wherever you happen to be at the moment and use that one. The iPhone or iPad could automatically choose between, say, AT&T and Verizon. You wouldn't need to know which one was in use at the moment. And every month you'd pay Apple instead of any particular carrier.

2. Elimination of separate voice and data "plans." The "real 4G" spec requires combining voice and data into a single internet packet stream, so there would be no technical reason to charge separately for voice and data. The recent "3.9G" LTE technology still uses separate voice and data connections (not to mention vastly slower speeds than the 4G spec's 100Mb/s for high mobility users (on planes, cars, etc.) and 1Gb/s for low mobility users (pedestrians, fixed position terminals.) It's basically a faster 3G.

The cell carriers will fight #1 to the death. They want to lock in their users. And the real reason Sprint et al are claiming that LTE is a "4G" network is to confuse the issue. They don't want #2 to ever happen. They don't want their users to know that 4G networks, when they are finally rolled out, will combine voice and data. They want you to pay for separate plans. I'm sure their spreadsheets tell them that separate plans are more profitable.

^ This.
post #30 of 35
This would be insanely useful, and helpful to customers around the world. I travel and either use my jailbroken iPhone or I just get a throwaway phone where ever I go.

The biggest hurdle, I presume, would be the business side of this. Because I doubt carriers would be happy with customers buying phones from Apple or another carrier and then not locking into their 2-year contracts. But at the same time if they try and just shut out Apple from doing what they want, they may be in turn shut down by Apple to even allow iPhones on their networks. Which would obviously be a big loss of revenue.

Let's just see where Steve Jobs and Apple go with this, if they go anywhere at all with it. Keep your fingers crossed!
post #31 of 35
I can see the benefit of being able to switch providers. Those with unlocked phones in Europe can already easily switch between carriers by swapping out sim cards. I use an unlocked phone while traveling and I buy prepaid sim cards in each country. So the benefit is mainly being able to switch to CDMA carriers, which are already simless. I see two downsides with a simless phone from apple though.

1) It will not be possible anymore to use another phone on the same line. The micro sim already makes this difficult. I have several gsm phones and I like being able to switch phones. Sometimes I prefer using an old phone that I won't miss if it gets stolen. Now I just have to put the sim in another phone.

2) Apple charges 30% for transaction processing in the app store. If they charge the same for this service, then we end up paying more.

Also, the main reason that carriers in the USA can lock in customers is that customers let them. T-mobile offers a discount if you bring your own device that is bigger than the subsidy for the device, but people still get the more expensive plan with a "free" device.
post #32 of 35
That would be amazing. Create some real competition in the carrier space. You want iPhone customers - offer some incentives that the competition does not have. They may say they will stop subsidizing, but in the end they need the customers and competitive pressure will let us arrive at some sort of reasonable middle ground between big subsidies and no subsidies.

If there is a company that can pull this off its definitely Apple, so I wish them luck and hope they carry out this vision.
--SHEFFmachine out
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--SHEFFmachine out
Da Bears!
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post #33 of 35
I'm going to admit it now, I am an Android fanboy...not necessarily a Google fanboy but definitely an Android fanboy. Get that out the way, call me names, blah blah blah...okay then on to my point.

This would be wonderful...and hopefully does take hold....and hopefully becomes a standard and Apple again ushers in a new generation of tech. Carrier's can ruin phones, and damn near ruin Android itself, locking down devices and stripping it of features and adding layers of uninstallable bloatware....

Weakening the carriers and turning them into what they should be, as another poster said 'utility companies' would be great. It would also force providers of prepaid services to offer the best services for any area because if you didn't like AT&T you could easily switch to Verizon/Sprint/T-mobile/Etc at the press of a button the next month. The subsidized plans would still exist of course forcing you into contracts and on THOSE phones (Android etc, obviously) bloatware could exist, sure, but for prepaid users, this would be masterful, and also it would better service for us all.

also, in case you're wondering why I'm here...

On my device there is an app called "News and Weather" and I created a topic filter called Android...since a LOT of Apple Insider's topics are strictly anti-Android for whatever reason I find myself reading their articles and the hilariously biased comments. Figured why not join.
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

That would be amazing. Create some real competition in the carrier space. You want iPhone customers - offer some incentives that the competition does not have. They may say they will stop subsidizing, but in the end they need the customers and competitive pressure will let us arrive at some sort of reasonable middle ground between big subsidies and no subsidies.

If there is a company that can pull this off its definitely Apple, so I wish them luck and hope they carry out this vision.

Subsidies and this global access prepaid could exist still, it would just force carriers to give prepaid people reasons NOT to leave their service, this could mean cheaper prices, better, faster service...cash incentives, etc.

It could work...The carriers will fight it tooth and nail, but hopefully they don't win.

Would actually be nice to see Google and Apple team up to push this as they both have significant market presence (though Apple a lot more so despite percentages) but I think I have a better chance of seeing pigs fly...backwards...
post #35 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

1. On-the-fly carrier selection: choose whichever carrier has the strongest signal wherever you happen to be at the moment and use that one. The iPhone or iPad could automatically choose between, say, AT&T and Verizon. You wouldn't need to know which one was in use at the moment. And every month you'd pay Apple instead of any particular carrier.

Ultimately, the carriers control the networks so on-the-fly will never happen. I think the best we can hope for is that Apple separates the phone components from the device. They'd sell an iPod Touch device, which you pay outright and you simply pay for an add-on from the carrier on a pay-per-use basis or very short-term contract e.g monthly.

There can still be subsidised devices on contract but it wouldn't be the only option and it means that you don't need to upgrade your handset for a 4G rollout.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

2. Elimination of separate voice and data "plans."

That's the big development I'd like to see but there will be resistance. It will also take a while due to the requirement for compatibility with older phones. Paying per call and per text and per data usage needs to stop though. Phones should become like home broadband where you can do anything you want for a single fee and you just pay if you go over your bandwidth limit.

I'd also like to see the elimination of phone numbers. Like what domain names are to IP addresses. I'm so tired of having to remember new numbers all the time. I'd just like to have a registered handle that humans recognise and I can point that to any number I get. Obviously celebrities will pick obscure handles but it means no more numbers.
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