An industry expert is predicting that Apple’s “next huge move” will be taking on mobile phone carriers like AT&T and Verizon and become a mobile service provider.

Wireless industry strategist Whitey Bluestein says Apple will soon begin to offer wireless service directly to iPhone and iPad users.

Speaking at the Informa MVNO Industry Summit in Barcelona, Bluestein said: “The battleground is set, but Apple will be the first mover. Google will have to scramble because it lacks retail distribution, experience with subscriber services and the iTunes ecosystem of content. iTunes and the iTunes Store provide Apple with one-click buying and customer care. Google can acquire most of these capabilities, as it has before, but it is not a core competency of the company,” reports BGR.

Bluestein added: “What has been holding Apple back from becoming a wireless provider already are the enormous handset subsidies paid by mobile operators (AT&T, VZW and Sprint in the US), which amount to about $381 for each iPhone sold today. That has been a short-term stumbling block for Apple, but the company has its well-known cash reserves and could seize the initiative at any point.”

We can’t see Apple making such a move, it seems illogical that it would set itself up in competition with existing networks, perhaps removing the iPhone from sale by those companies, and opening up the can of worms that is the different mobile network standards in different countries, LTE 4G being one example.

Apple is currently facing accusations over its marketing of the ‘4G iPad’ in UK. This follows similar accusations in Australia. The UK Apple site still calls the mobile data network compatible iPad the Wi-Fi + 4G model, and only explains that 4G LTE is not available in the UK in a footnote at the bottom of the webpage.

It looks like 4G won’t be arriving in the UK for some time, despite Everything Everywhere launching a campaign to promote the importance of bringing 4G to the UK as soon as possible.