Not about offering consumers the universe on a platter...
As we noted yesterday, Verizon Wireless has announced
that at the end of 2008, they'll be offering users the option to connect any supported, CDMA device to their EVDO network. In other words, you'll be able to buy a data-only plan from Verizon, and use any supported device and application on the network -- with a catch. This is in contrast to Verizon's traditionally gimped software, crippled phones and "get it now"
walled garden functionality.
Reactions to the press release
seem boundlessly optimistic, though this is a company that would probably rather die than become a "dumb pipe"
provider of bandwidth. While the press thinks this announcement is a consumer bonanza, we're unconvinced of Verizon's epiphany just yet.Silicon Alley Insider
's Dan Frommer was one of only a few writers who seemed to get what this announcement was really about -- getting some positive PR, and the injection of a per-byte billing model into consumer consciousness:
Some people think this will open the door to devices running new services, like free Internet phone service or video calling. But Verizon (VZ) has no intention of turning itself into dumb pipe. You can expect service plans for non-Verizon phones to include data-network fees based on usage -- meaning those "free" calls could cost a bundle.
by the NY Attorney general for advertising 5GB capped service as unlimited, Verizon Wireless has been looking for an opportunity to sell consumers on per byte pricing, and this is likely it. It's a clever play by the company, who'll get to tell critics and regulators they they do in fact support open access, while charging you a premium for it.