Verizon’s Open Network?

Verizon Logo
I awoke this morning to headlines in Yahoo Finance proclaiming “Verizon Opens Up Network“. Seems like pretty exciting stuff. What an amazing turnaround for the carrier that kicked my wife’s Amp’d Mobile Motorola e816 off their network last July when Amp’d folded. The same company that reportedly started banning new activations of Verizon branded Windows or Palm smartphones on their prepaid service just a few days ago . The Verizon that just last month stopped activating Verizon branded prepaid phones on contract plans. But wait! You still can’t actually do any of those things. The opening of Verizon’s network is a year away and any device still has to be approved by Verizon’s yet to be built $20 million testing facility before it will be allowed on the network.

Change is coming for sure. The enormous potential of mobile data services has been denied by carrier restrictions for too long. Now that we have phones running desktop operating systems like Safari and Linux, customers are questioning why they can’t install desktop quality applications on these devices or why 3rd party applications are blocked from accessing their phone’s GPS chip or phone book. Regulators too are beginning to question the closed nature of mobile networks. Verizon has responded with a press release proclaiming their new openness. This could be significant, Verizon has historically been the most restrictive of US networks in locking down their network and devices. At this point all Verizon has given us is a press release. I’m hoping something positive for consumers and innovators will come out of this, but I’m skeptical. The fact that Verizon will be conducting business as usual for another year doesn’t look good. I guess they need time to build that lab. But you know what? Every phone sold in the US already has to undergo rigorous testing and approval by the FCC. I’d be willing to bet the FCC’s lab cost taxpayers at least $20 million. If a phone is good enough to get government approval shouldn’t it be good enough for Verizon? The GSM networks seem to be holding up pretty well to users being able to switch devices freely, is Verizon’s CDMA infrastructure that fragile?

If Verizon really wants to show how open they are they could start right now by allowing customers to activate any FCC approved CDMA 800/1900 devices that can accept Verizon OTA programming, like the e816 or an Alltel phone or a Verizon Moto Q on prepaid.

All carping aside, my take is that Verizon’s “opening” of their network is a response Google’s Android and positioning in advance of the 700MHz spectrum auction. The actual opening is set to occur late next year, where it conveniently coincides with the release of the first Android phone.

It’s interesting to compare the press reactions to Verizon’s announcement. Mainstream tech media like Infoworld and PC Magazine’s Sascha Segan are quite positive, as is FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin. Bloggers who follow the mobile industry like Carlo Longino at MobHappy and Om Malik seem more skeptical. Will Verizon really become an open network or is it all politics and PR? Leave a comment telling us what you think.

6 thoughts on “Verizon’s Open Network?

  1. I have been a verizon customer 15 yrs but this past year has been a nightmare from poor customer service to malfunctioning phones to dishonest billing practices.I recently upgraded 3 of my 5lines and am thinking of switching.I’ve taken one of my phones in 3x and called,expecting the next time they will give me a new phone but no they make up one excuse after another.they charge me for fees after my cycle end date that should have been charged the following month,how do they expect me to pay 1000 dollars in one mth.I terminate a device and they charge me full mths usage fee and early termination fee all in same mth,they say they will credit me, I get confirmation of this then a day later they change their mind all after admitting they were in the wrong.I told them I can’t pay all this in one mth,well call and make arrangements for the portion you can’t after your due date and you’ll be fine except for a lt fee, they say my servce won’t be interrupted,I have my doubts.I say how exactly do they plan on resolving your problem promise on empty promises ?thank you for your continued loyalty they say, well how do they thank me? Wasting my time by giving me the run around,so no thanks!

  2. I doubt it will ever actually be open.

    The FCC required that cable box use be available for any box maker, like Tivo. They made CableCARDS and found a way to comply while making it unpopular.

    But the 25,000 people or so that are estimated to use Tivo with cableCARD no longer complain about closed box access, so that is key.

  3. I am skeptical & am taking a lot of salt w/ this story.
    I am an ex amp’d mobile pre-pay customer w/ the moto e816. This is a fantastic phone. I will NOT give it up. I have no land line either. I have to use pay phones. yuk!
    I have not been able to find any provider that will activate my phone. Even alltel, that sells this exact model will not activate!
    I find this very disheartening! It is typical of ALL of America’s corporate thinking.
    Why would any provider operating a cdma network, especially verizon, so RUDELY & UNPROFESSIONALLY turn away business? Please add sprint, cingular & tmobile too.
    When i try to make a call i get, “welcome to verizon wireless network” blah blah blah, contact verizon csr to activat your phone. THEY WON’T!
    So, at the point when they do open there network to other equipment use & they do allow use of the e816 & if it does coincide w/ google wireless premeire, I will try to have my e816 activated w/ google or just buy the new cool google phone.
    I will not give my business to verizon or others after verizon & others, so stupidly refuse my business & money NOW!
    the usa is so far behind the curve & simply never learns, i don’t see this country ever improving or at least regaining what we once had & shared. ~FREEDOM~
    up the irons

  4. Verizon is such a huge company, its interesting to postulate what they have up their sleeve. There are so many ways Verizon could capitalize on such a decision, but how exactly. That is probably something Verizon’s competitor’s corporate strategists are mulling over–perhaps even considering the possibility of opening their networks up.

  5. I must agree and I love this rant! I really do. Verizon is to the point there why are being pretty evil locking down devices. A friend of mine went in to a local Verizon office and asked them to change the ESN on his account to another phone, sense he broke his other. They tried to charge him just to change his ESN number. That is totaly NUTS!

  6. Pingback: A Rant against Verizon’s “Open” Network | Viral Electronics

Comments are closed.