Photo: Florin Hatmanu
Back when Apple started planning the first iPhone in 2005, Steve Jobs wanted to bypass wireless carriers completely and build a phone that would let users place calls over Wi-Fi networks.That’s what cell phone industry vet John Stanton told a crowd in Seattle yesterday, as reported by IDG.
Stanton was the first employee at McCaw Cellular, the first wireless company (it later became AT&T Mobile) and later ran Voicestream (which became T-Mobile).
Stanton said Jobs talked to him fairly regularly about the idea of using Wi-Fi to bypass phone companies. Eventually Jobs gave up on the idea around 2007 and signed a U.S. exclusive with AT&T. This year, the iPhone finally added other U.S. carriers Verizon and Sprint.
It’s an interesting insight into how Jobs thought, and it could play out again as Apple works on its rumoured TV project.
Jobs has said that the cable carriers are a big barrier to innovation because they heavily subsidise TV set-top boxes, which makes it almost impossible for another box (or provider) to take their place. The obvious way around that would be to deliver video over some other kind of high-speed dedicated network like Google is supposedly planning to do.