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Steve Jobs Envisioned Using Unlicensed Wi-Fi Spectrum for Apple Mobile Phone Network

IDG News Service reports on comments made yesterday by venture capitalist John Stanton claiming that Steve Jobs had been investigating the possibility of using unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum as way to bypass carriers in setting up a mobile phone network in the years before the iPhone debuted. While the idea proved to be infeasible, Stanton's description of Jobs' vision fits with the Apple co-founder's overall goal of controlling the entire user experience from end to end.
Stanton, currently chairman at venture capital firm Trilogy Partnership, said he spent a fair amount of time with Jobs between 2005 and 2007. "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."
According to Stanton, Jobs gave up on the idea by 2007 as the company pursued a more traditional arrangement for the iPhone through existing carriers, but still managed to have a significant influence on eroding the control carriers had previously exerted over the devices on their networks.
"If I were a carrier, I'd be concerned about the dramatic shift in power that occurred," he said.

Companies like Apple and Google, which develops Android, sell a variety of software and services that capture revenue streams that might have otherwise gone to the operators.
Stanton was one of the early entrepreneurs in cellular technology, founding a small company called Western Wireless that later spun out part of itself as VoiceStream and which became T-Mobile USA following a 2001 acquisition by Deutsche Telekom. The remainder of Western Wireless was acquired by Alltel in 2005, and it appears that Jobs' conversations with Stanton occurred immediately after that time.

Top Rated Comments

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38 months ago
I'm not really surprised that he would want to control the network; it always seemed like he was never totally satisfied with using traditional carriers.
Rating: 29 Votes
38 months ago
Well, that would've been cool. Still nice to see the amount of power the carriers lost due to the iPhone- which is only a fraction of the kind of absurd power they have in this country.

The carriers- and the conflict of interest that arises due to the money they make with the outdated business model of selling "minutes" and text messages, when it could all be done via data- are the biggest impediment to progress in the mobile world.
Rating: 26 Votes
38 months ago

if this feasible someone would have done it already


Not with that attitude ;)
Rating: 25 Votes
38 months ago
That would be nice!
Rating: 17 Votes
38 months ago

Pixar.


Pixar isn't Apple.
Rating: 13 Votes
38 months ago

if this feasible someone would have done it already


yes. duh. the somebody would've been apple... if it had been feasible. that was the point of the story. :rolleyes:
Rating: 11 Votes
38 months ago
One day, in the future, Apple will announce this:

"Pay a monthly price, and get an iPhone for free, which you can use in any country, anytime, for anything"

Dedicated Apple network, all through the internet.

Carriers will die, and the world will be beautiful.
Rating: 9 Votes
38 months ago

if this feasible someone would have done it already


It may not have been feasible in 2007, but as I’ve mentioned before 802.22 was finalized this year. 100 kilometer range at 20Mbps. Still might not be feasible, but that doesn’t mean 802.?? won’t be, and with Apple having long term leases on hundreds of stores across the country it would give Apple a huge advantage in setting up a nationwide network. You’ll recall there were photos of Verizon/AT&T were installing LTE equipment in their stores.

I won’t be surprised if there’s an Apple network set up once they get over the transition to iCloud and related product transitions.
Rating: 7 Votes
38 months ago

Pixar.


I've never seen a pixar movie.

To say apple reshaped the film industry is another arrogant stance from the apple community. They added to it, but they didnt reshape it.
Rating: 7 Votes
38 months ago
Do it, Tim!
Rating: 7 Votes

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