Apple Mobile Carrier: Steve Jobs Envisioned Apple Wi-Fi Cellular Network for iPhone

Former Apple CEO and cofounder Steve Jobs dreamed of birthing his own unlicensed spectrum Wi-Fi cellular network, effectively cutting out the mobile service carriers, according to wireless industry maverick John Stanton.

Speaking at the Law Seminars International Event in Seattle, Stanton, who is currently chairperson of venture capital firm Trilogy Partners, said he talked with Jobs from 2005 to 2007 when Apple was gearing the original iPhone for release.

Stanton said Jobs, who recently passed away after a battle with pancreatic cancer, imagined a wireless spectrum to create a new species of network rather than use a traditional cell phone signal, according to the IDG News Service.

"He wanted to replace carriers," said Stanton. "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."

Stanton said Jobs eventually gave up on the idea as too much too soon, but that the concept still managed to send major waves through the wireless operators.

"If I were a carrier, I'd be concerned about the dramatic shift in power that occurred," Stanton said.

Stanton was a McCaw Cellular’s employee, the first nationwide mobile company that later became AT&T Wireless. He later founded Western Wireless, later called Voicestream, a rural mobile operator that was bought by Deutsche Telekom and became T-Mobile.

Stanton advised operators to follow Jobs’ lead and take risks on emerging trends and services rather than bank heavily in established technologies.

In addition, some market analysts agree with Stanton’s portrait of Jobs.

“As far as I’m concerned there is only one thing that could be totally game-changing for Apple’s main business, iOS devices, at this point: total freedom from the carriers,” said Matthew Panzarino in TheNextWeb.

“The only way to ensure this is for Apple to create its own carrier. A carrier that serves iOS devices with an always-on data connection that allows them to take advantage of their features in a way that the current carrier system never could,” Stanton added.

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