For many mobile users all around the globe, the easiest, most convenient way to get up-and-running with a smartphone is to acquire one through the network you intend to contract for service. Relationships between carriers and manufacturers, as a result, have a huge influence over the phones we shop for and ultimately buy. That’s why we’re a little concerned to hear about things breaking down between Apple and a number of carriers from around the world.
First there was MTS in Russia last week, with the carrier deciding that the volume of Apple sales it was seeing couldn’t justify the subsidies it was forced to pay, and it just made more business sense to drop the iPhone. This week, MTS is joined by Vimpelcom and Megafon, and between the lot of them, they represent over 300 million mobile users in Europe, North America, and Asia.
A figure that big is seriously hard to ignore, and even if Apple can keep on doing just fine without those users, we may be witnessing the start of a troubling movement here. What happens if a couple other major carriers join the effort? Could Apple be forced to re-think its dealings with these companies, or does it continue to have just so much momentum that it can basically ignore this little hiccup?