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USPTO reveals Apple multi-carrier phone tech

updated 10:30 am EDT, Thu April 10, 2008

Multi-carrier iPhone?

An Apple patent application from 2006, recently disclosed by the US Patent and Trademark Office, suggests that Apple at least once contemplated letting users pick from multiple carriers on an iPhone. The current American iPhone is tethered by default to AT&T and affiliates, forcing users to hack it if they want to operate on a choice of networks; under the scheme described by the patent however, network addresses for multiple carriers could be stored on a mobile device, and selected as necessary for the purposes of roaming. This somewhat reflects the way iPhone users can now choose Wi-Fi hotspots.

More unusual would be the ability to receive going rates for each carrier, effectively allowing on-the-fly comparison shopping. The patent specifically focuses on mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), though, suggesting that Apple had no intention of letting users select a fully independent carrier. It has been rumored that the Australian iPhone could operate on any of the country's major GSM networks.

by MacNN Staff





  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    well, duh!

    Of course Apple would want as many carriers as possible to use its hardware/software. The problem was, not every carriers was willing to accept Apple's' (and the users') proscribed level of control of the device, or integrating its functions with their network. Not to mention that its startup in the US was a trial period, in other words, a gamble for the company that took it on.

    Perhaps if other companies come to see that the LG, nokia, and other posers aren't going to cut it, they'll finally wise up and accept Apple's terms. You can be sure we'd see more transparency in plan rates then

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