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iPad in Europe, prudent mobile operators in negotiations with Apple

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Circumference and caution. These seem to be the two passwords that are dictating the attitude of mobile operators in the face of Apple's offers for agreements on the distribution of iPad.

According to Reuters, which cites internal sources to the operators themselves and some analysts who are aware of the state of the negotiations, the experience made with the iPhone is at the origin of the very prudent attitude. At stake would be the protection of sources of profit and the risks that the iPad poses to their business. The tablet would, in fact, be a device capable of producing low profits and reduced added value.

Firstly, phone operators, unlike what happened with iPhone, would have no benefit from voice calls and SMS since iPad has no telephone function and would be forced to work only on data offers. The prospect of a new store (separate from that of the iPhone) would be an additional element of controversy. The phone has shifted customer attention from the services provided by mobile operators to Apple and its online store. This experience, which in fact classifies mobile networks as a 'dumb pipe', an inert conduct for data only, for the benefit of Apple and its iTunes Store, very unwelcome in view of a future where services will dominate the scene and budgets.

Another problem when operators examine the weight that iPad could impose on mobile networks in terms of data traffic. The fear that, as happens in the US, there will be a stress such as to reduce performance below acceptable limits; for this reason it is unlikely that in Europe there are many offers with unlimited data traffic for iPad. An anonymous manager of a telecommunications company would have feared the possibility of a change, due to iPad, of the price ranges for mobile data: 'we will have to see – the manager tells the news agency – if it is a sustainable model. There are limitations on what a network can manage even if we have confidence in our capabilities.

In the face of all this it seems that, however, none of the mobile operators currently in business with Apple is able to close the door completely and immediately. The next iPhone contracts would also be at stake; Cupertino could tie the agreements on iPad to those for the next version of the phone, making the whole affair much more complicated. A "take it all" (iPad with iPhone) or "drop everything" thrown on the plate by Cupertino could mess up all plans and strategies. The fact that Jobs, at the presentation of iPad, fixed at the end of June at the beginning of July, when the new phone model should make its debut, the announcement of news on the agreements with mobile operators, suggests that this hypothesis may not be entirely wrong .