Update August 4: Apple has come out to deny reports that it's currently trialling its own mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).
Apple's spokespeople have said it hasn't in fact had any discussions or plans regarding becoming an MVNO.
"We have not discussed nor do we have any plans to launch an MVNO," Apple said in a statement to several publications.
Business Insider reported yesterday its sources in the telecommunications industry said Apple was trialling the service in the US and was in discussions with carriers in Europe.
We've asked Apple for further comment on the matter and will update this story if and when we hear back.
Original article below...
It looks like Apple may have begun trialling its own mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service in the US, according to a new report.
Speaking to Business Insider, "telecom sources" are also reporting that Apple is in talks with telecommunication companies in Europe as well, while it has been in talks with US carriers for years now.
But while Apple's MVNO service has apparently been an "open secret" among carriers, the sources also note that it might take up to 5 years before we see an MVNO service from Apple fully launch, if Apple launches the service at all.
An MVNO world
While we may have predicted that Apple would be jumping in on the MVNO business a few years ago, with the release of the Apple SIM last year in the iPad Air 2, so an MVNO service seems like a logical step for the company.
The Apple SIM already lets you switch between network carriers without needing to change the SIM (or be locked into a long-term contract) and currently works with AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint's networks.
An Apple MVNO service would mean that for customers, Apple would essentially become your carrier for data, calls and texts, while your Apple SIM will automatically switch you between the networks of the carriers it has deals with, depending on your location.
It will work similar to Google's own MVNO service, Project Fi, which was launched earlier this year and works off the back of Sprint's and T-Mobile's LTE networks and Wi-Fi hotspots.
Of course, as stated, Apple still seems a while away from actually launching an MVNO service, and it may in fact decide to not launch it at all. We'll just have to wait and see.