How Apple will become a mobile carrier — Apple News, Tips and Reviews (click for full article) "What's next for Apple? Apple will provide wireless service directly to its iPad and iPhone customers. First, Apple will sell data packages bundled with iPads. Then it will sell data and international roaming plans to iPhone customers through the iTunes Store. And in time - sooner than many think - Apple will strike wholesale deals with several mobile operators so that Apple can provide wireless service directly to its customers, as Apple Mobile. Will domestic and global mobile operators like AT&T, Vodafone, Telefónica and others "play ball" with Apple? Many in the U.S. were surprised six years ago when AT&T capitulated to Apple's terms to become the first carrier to offer the iPhone six years ago. Conventional wisdom is that the struggling operators compromises, not a leading operator like AT&T. But Apple makes everyone "think different." And in hindsight, the first iPhone deal was a brilliant strategy that has continued to pay huge dividends to AT&T. In the last quarter just reported, four out of five smartphones AT&T sold were iPhones. Apple changed the formula of the relationship between operator and handset vendor, with Apple having more bargaining power than the operator for the first time in mobile history. And that's the point. "