Apple to buy Sprint
Who would jump carriers if you could have an unlimited data plan for all your devices for $50 to $100 a month. I figure if you pay full boat for the Apple devices then the service should be about $50 a month, $100 wold include some discount on at least the iPhone.
Secondly, it probably wouldn't be a bad move on Apple's part. Smartphone owners want carriers to just be "dumb pipes" but they know they can't be profitable that way, so having one controlled directly by the manufacturer would potentially be a really consumer-friendly move (at least until everyone starts throwing the word monopoly around...).
I'll try and find the link but there was a really good article a few months ago about the possibility of Apple buying a small carrier but still offering their phone on the existing carriers as well. It would definitely simplify the whole experience of shopping for a cell phone plan--an area I think the industry could really use some disruption in.
My main reason for thinking this is a no is because what could tehy really do with it and how would they integreate it into their world. it offers nothing for them in their content side no additional media. hardware wise what would they gain? they make one handset maybe 2. this means they would now be offering all the android phones also if tehy want to see that buisness make money. not to mention the hits they will start taking for owning the carrier and do you really think the goverment would aprove it?
Now if they did go this route i think they could expand Sprints network and really push 4G. if Apple attached this like they did other markets i think the other carriers would be worried about what Apple is going to change and force them to push ahead with thir own infrastructure. would they stop selling the iPhones? i doubt it. but would apple now start selling a one off model just for their network?
As for handsets, I believe there is a new chipset coming out that is both GSM and CDMA capable. This would allow for a unified handset.
However, as for concerns about what Apple would do world wide and why Apple would consider such a move in the U.S. I believe the real reason such a move would be a good idea for Apple in the U.S. is so that Apple can become a DATA carrier and not necessarily phone service provider. Future Apple products will all likely come 3-4G capable. I mean iPods and MacBooks and Apple would want to foster this access to data.
Currently you either need a separate plan for every device, or use a third party hotspot. If Apple wants to further expand its reach into the consumer market, and the future of data as Apple sees it, then it will need to have easy access to data for its customers. Especially since Apple doesn't use the open Android model.
But yes, convincing it's U.S. carrier partners that Apple is not in direct phone competition with them will be the stickiest point.