This ongoing rumor, this time, seems to make some sense. James Cook on Apple becoming an MNVO:
An MVNO is a virtual carrier network that sees technology companies lease space from established carriers and sell it to customers directly.
In other words, Apple becomes the middleman, turning the cell phone carriers into their landline heritage, purveyors of dumb pipes (albeit, wireless).
Instead of paying your carrier every month, you will pay Apple directly for data, calls, and texts. Apple then provides you with everything you used to get from your carrier, but the Apple SIM switches between carriers to get the best service. The telecoms companies auction capacity to Apple so it can run the service.
Think Walmart’s StraightTalk service with an Apple logo.