We know that Apple discussed the iPhone with several networks before launching it exclusively through AT&T. It's also widely believed that the company was in serious talks with Verizon before eventually signing a 5-year deal with AT&T. However, what we hadn't known up until now is that Apple CEO Steve Jobs originally wanted to launch his own network with unused Wi-Fi spectrum and bypass the carriers completely.
IDG reports that Venture Capitalist and 'wireless industry pioneer' John Stanton recently spoke at the Law Seminars International event in Seattle and revealed that Steve Jobs' plan in the beginning had been to launch his own cell network.
"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 is said to have given up on the idea after two years, in 2007, the same year that the iPhone launched. We know that the phone hit AT&T exclusively and was supposed to be exclusive to AT&T for five years. However, earlier this year, the iPhone 4 arrived on Verizon, and the iPhone 4S launched with availability through AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.
Though Steve may have scrapped his idea for his own network, Stanton maintains that the former Apple CEO made a huge impact on the wireless industry regardless. Apple's iMessage, similar to BBM, is just one of the ways that Apple is stealing revenue that carriers would have otherwise been able to call their own thanks to users SMSing and MMSing each other. It's a power shift that Stanton says would concern him if he were a carrier.
However, the question remains, would people be willing to move to a newly established Apple-branded network for the iPhone?