Background: Earlier today, Verizon Wireless announced a plan to open their networks to other devices and applications. The announcement is here.
The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:
“We welcome Verizon's announcement this morning and are cautiously optimistic that it will lead to a more open network in the wireless industry at large. The Federal Communications Commission, in a rule being challenged by the cellular industry's trade association, endorsed that type of market opening for all carriers in the spectrum auction due to take place next year.
“The Verizon announcement, however, is very limited. If other carriers don't follow the same model, then consumers will still find their phones tied to a specific technology or wireless company. Until they do, an iPhone will still be useless on any network but AT&T's. In order for an open network to become a reality, all carriers will have to participate.
“Even with the announcement today, if Verizon continues to subsidize cellphones, then the adoption of the open model will be minimal absent a rapid decline in cell phone prices. We need to know whether the rates for Verizon service plans will vary for those with subsidized phones and for those customers with a phone bought elsewhere.
“We also note that Verizon alone decides what phones and applications will be acceptable to its network. It would be preferable to have a neutral third party either making the decision on acceptability for Verizon, or conducting evaluations which would be accepted by Verizon.
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