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Apple Denies Planning to Sell Mobile Services Directly to Consumers

Contrary to reports, Apple says it's not talking about starting a mobile virtual network operator service.

Anthony Quintano for Re/code

Apple, the world’s most profitable mobile phone maker, has denied a report that it is working on a plan to market communications services directly to consumers that would bypass telecom operators on which it now relies.

Business Insider on Monday reported that the iPhone maker was testing a so-called mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service in the United States, which would involve it renting capacity from one or more network operators to sign up its own customers.

The mobile phone maker is also in talks with European operators about such an arrangement, the website reported.

“We have not discussed nor do we have any plans to launch an MVNO,” said an Apple spokeswoman in a statement on Tuesday.

Apple recently reported that it sold 48 million iPhones in the quarter through June, raking in $31.4 billion in revenue, or 63 percent of its total sales.

Since it first launched the iPhone in 2007, carriers ranging from AT&T and Deutsche Telekom to China Mobile have been crucial partners in ensuring the success of Apple’s move into the mobile phone business.

In order to ensure maximum coverage to its customers, Apple has moved away from an early focus on exclusive deals with single operators in key markets to work with as many operators as possible.

Last year, the company launched an own-branded Apple SIM card that allows consumers using its iPad tablet devices, but not its phones, to switch services between network operators. Several top operators in the United States and Europe support the Apple SIM.

(Editing by Georgina Prodhan and David Holmes)

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