Speaking at a Law Seminars International event in Seattle, former T-Mobile head John Stanton said Steve Jobs wanted to launch the iPhone without carrier support. Part of his vision was to create a carrier for the iPhone that ran on unlicensed WiFi spectrum. "He wanted to replace carriers," said Stanton.
Between 2005 and 2006, Jobs talked at length with Stanton who has a strong background in wireless communications. Stanton was as an early employee at McCaw Cellular, the first wireless carrier in the US and the progenitor to AT&T. He also served as the head of Voicestream which eventually became T-Mobile. By 2007, Jobs had given up on the carrier idea. Instead of pursuing its own network, Apple signed an exclusive deal with Cingular/AT&T and the rest is history.