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Jobs mulled building own mobile network for iPhones

World's most famous control freak wanted to bypass telcos

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Telecoms execs will be shifting nervously in their seats today as news filters out of a near miss for their business models.

Steve Jobs wanted to ditch the mobile operators and make his own network for iPhones when he thrust them upon the world in 2007, says John Stanton, a wireless industry pioneer. Stanton was speaking in Seattle at the Law Seminars International event, reports IDG.

Stanton, who founded Western Wireless, says that Jobs approached him in 2005 to investigate making a carrier for the new iPhone using unlicensed Wi-Fi spectrum. Jobs was keen to avoid working with the mobile operators for his new device, wanting more complete control over the whole experience, but had to abandon his plans in 2007.

Of course, that didn't work out. Apple went with AT&T for the iPhone, opening up to mobile networks Sprint and Verizon later.

But the company might do it yet: it certainly has a few billion to throw around. Stanton warned that even though Jobs' plan didn't work out, carriers have already ceded control and revenue streams to Apple and Google; a shift that started with the launch of the iPhone: "If I were a carrier, I'd be concerned about the dramatic shift in power that occurred." ®

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