Verizon opens up

US #2 carrier Verizon, the famed high priests of the walled garden said they would open their network to 3rd party devices, applications and services. Skeptics say this might just be a move ahead of the spectrum auction for the 700MHz range, in which Google had declared an interest, too. Commentators say it might be an attempt to discourage Google from throwing its head into the ring but they maintain that VZW will not be seen to reducing itself to a bit pipe.

However, the commitment to open its network may also mean that Google, in the wake of its Android OS promoted with the Open Handset Alliance (see here), may no longer feel that they have to spend billions of dollars to acquire the bandwidth necessary to pave the way to customers: with an open network environment, Android-based devices may very well also be running on Verizon's network so Google may no longer need to go to the expense to providing an alternative route.

Apart from the considerations mentioned above, Verizon is under pressure to encourage device makers also from the neighbouring areas such as tablet PCs, dedicated gaming devices, etc to build hardware that works on its on EV-DO network rather than only on the UMTS-powered networks of most of its competitors. With ongoing convergence of the various screens and their inherent agnostic approach to whichever technology is being used, it is important not to fall behind as Verizon's network might otherwise become an isolated island with only sub-par devices and less choice than with competitors.

So whichever good or bad intentions Verizon may have, it is opening the walled gardens a little bit more, and that surely is a good thing!


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