Come On In… Says Verizon

by Sachin Balagopalan on November 28, 2007 · Comments

Everyone from GigaOM to the New York Times is talking about it and why not? On the surface this is huge and remember it was only this past summer when the iPhone hit the streets we were pondering why Apple chose AT&T over the other carriers. The general consensus of-course was Verizon, Sprint and others did not want to give up control and shift power to the device manufacturers and wanted to remain closed. Today five months later Verizon has announced that it will open up it’s network to “any apps, any device” by the end of 2008.

Verizon Wireless today announced that it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company. Verizon Wireless plans to have this new choice available to customers throughout the country by the end of 2008.

It is pretty obvious that with the impending auction of the 700-megahertz spectrum Sprint is trying to position itself so it doesn’t have to make any compromises during the bidding process (read my post on Google’s conditions for entering into the bidding). They can now say that they are an open network and need not have to make any concessions. However IMO I think there is more to this than just the 700-megahertz spectrum auction.

While most Verizon Wireless customers prefer the convenience of full service, the company is listening through today’s announcement to a small but growing number of customers who want another choice without full service.

Both full-service and “bring-your-own” customers will have the advantage of using America’s most reliable network.

There is no doubt that Verizon has recognized a shift in customer preference and is reflected in their press statement above - “a small but growing number of customers who want another choice without full service”. After the release of the iPhone and judging by the sales and defections to AT&T one thing that has become apparent is that most customers want the coolest phones and don’t really care much about the network and I think Verizon recognizes that now. By opening up their network device manufacturers and software developers are free to design and develop the best devices and software (at least in theory anyway) that will work on their CDMA platform. Verizon also recognizes that it’s only a matter of time T-Mobile or someone else will buck the trend and open up their doors.

In any case I think this is a good thing and we are probably witnessing the begining of the end where we will be able to buy any device and have the luxury to choose the network. So we could see Apple potentially releasing a CDMA version of the iPhone as well!


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