O2 are denying the reports that they will be the iPhone provider.

I have an idea, and I’m going to say it here because if it’s true in six months time I can point here and say “Called it”.

This is my Idea:

The phone network in the US is pretty much locked down. If you want to do anything to do with mobile phones, you pretty much have to deal with get into bed with one of the big companies.

In the UK, that’s not true. That’s how companies like… well, Hotxt get their (er, our) app onto your phone without having to sign a pre-nup with Orange. (Three is a slightly different thing, it’s trying to run a US-style “Sign. Here.” system, and it doesn’t appear to be doing that all that well. I digress).

One of the big problems Apple has/had in the US is with AT&T not keeping up with registrations, with the division of understanding between an “Apple Product” and a “AT&T Product”, and generally with associating it – and co-labeling with – another major brand.

If I were Apple in the UK then, and I had people on-hand who knew how this kind of shit worked (Which I don’t, obviously), I’d do what Virgin Mobile do, and be a “MVNO” – a Mobile Virtual Network Operator – the mobile equivalent of all those “Free Dialup” offers late last decade, running their branded stuff on other people’s networks.

It’s not as if they don’t already have the ability to take subscription payments (.mac & iTunes) and everything already.

Apple Mobile. Coming autumn 2007.