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Verizon's Open Development Initiative? So Far It's A Joke
Opinion: open access plan more PR than substance...
by Karl Bode 01:11PM Thursday Jan 08 2009
Late in 2007, Verizon made a big deal about "opening up" their wireless network. The announcement got a huge amount of kudos from the press, the news wires filling with talk about how Verizon had turned a corner and embraced the new, open wireless paradigm (either voluntarily or by force). In reality, Verizon Wireless executives were never going to fully embrace being a "dumb pipe" provider, but for some reason, they were given the benefit of the doubt.

We will allow customers to connect any device that meets our minimum technical standards, and be activated on our network.

We do not expect this to be a difficult or lengthy process, since we will only be testing network connectivity.

-Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam in 2007
It's now 2009, and Verizon's open access initiative is by and large a no show. Verizon Wireless says they've certified 29 wireless devices that can run on its network sold by independent vendors, but none of them are consumer devices, and many aren't commercially available. Sure, it's great that the nation's prison system can connect the "Behavioral Intervention offender tracking wireless anklet" to Verizon's EVDO network, but that's not exactly what people had in mind.

"This is a transformation point in the 20-year history of mass market wireless devices – one which we believe will set the table for the next level of innovation and growth," said Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam in a 2007 press release.

"We will allow customers to connect any device that meets our minimum technical standards, and be activated on our network," said McAdam. "We do not expect this to be a difficult or lengthy process, since we will only be testing network connectivity." Did we mention that was late 2007?

Buried in McAdam's comments -- but ignored by the press -- was his statement that "Verizon Wireless is not changing our successful retail model," but rather "adding an additional retail option for customers looking for a different wireless experience." In other words, Verizon was saying they'd keep their primary focus on crippled handsets, while making freedom and choice a luxury tier. A luxury tier that will all but certainly come with costly metered billing to counter any revenue lost from users wandering off of the Verizon reservation.

But even that has yet to materialize.

For now, the best we're getting is glacial progress and lip service. For those not impressed by EVDO-capable prison anklets, Verizon attempted to wow attendees at CES by announcing they might, sometime, be making their EVDO network open to competitors of the Amazon Kindle. Tony Lewis, who's in charge of Verizon's certification system, did note this week that real consumer devices (like oh, smartphones) are taking longer than expected:
quote:
Lewis said consumer electronics devices were taking longer to get to the certification stage because they tended to include multiple features and as a result were more complicated than single-purpose data devices such as trackers.
Sure, shaking off decades of telco-think, creating a functional testing process, testing devices and opening the network takes time. But you get the distinct impression Verizon Wireless is stalling, terrified of the monsters (mobile VoIP, non-Verizon content) on the other side of the open network door. What wireless industry exec would be in a hurry to cannibalize revenues made from services like SMS/MMS, ringtones, media and voice?

Here's a crazy theory: Verizon's Open Development Initiative is 90% public relations, designed to stall change, not usher it forward.
Here's a crazy theory: Verizon's Open Development Initiative is 90% public relations, designed to stall change, not usher it forward.

When regulators (and Google) began pressuring Verizon in 2007 about truly opening up their networks during the 700Mhz spectrum disputes, Verizon took an existing plan to open their EVDO network up to the industrial sector, and dressed it up as revolutionary. The un-critical technology press helped sell it.

The resulting stage show got regulators off of Verizon's back, while providing oodles of positive press lauding Verizon for being a progressive company, despite them never having accomplished anything of note. We've yet to see a third party truly open smartphone released under this program. More importantly, -- we've yet to see the bandwidth pricing model or the restrictions Verizon is planning to apply to it.

Yes, it's probably inevitable that Verizon is going to have to truly open up their network fully. But for now, open access absolutely terrifies mobile carriers, who see it as utterly apocalyptic. When it comes to truly allowing any device and application on their mobile networks, have absolutely no doubt that carriers like Verizon Wireless will have to be dragged, kicking and screaming.

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Sorry, Verizon the Gsm World is way head of you!

Nice try Verizon, the Gsm world is way head of you big time on this meaning that. The Gsm phones can be unlocked as long as the radio frequencies match the networks requirements and you can insert that cellphone companies sim card, and you can call into your cell provider's customer service department and activate your Gsm phones new service. Verizon, you are a joke for not adapting to the Gsm Network Technology instead of using outdated Fred Flintstone, Cdma technology and maybe listen and try this messege and maybe, you will have better luck!!! This is sarcasm and its me talking out my butthole. "Sarcasm Off!"

DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1

Re: Sorry, Verizon the Gsm World is way head of you!

How many devices work on a GSM network , let me see thousands ?

Re: Sorry, Verizon the Gsm World is way head of you!

»hspa.gsmworld.com/ according to the website it states there on the website the facts of how many devices, are Gsm capable handsets. Its a big difference from chunky Cdma cell phones, and therefore the Gsm technology cell phones count is 1,053 devices are capable of gsm signal technology compaired to Cdma. Which is limited to a hundred at max or so, I am guessing!!!
Exactly the point of Gsm Technology!!!
Big Dawg 23

join:2002-03-27
Northfield, MN

Re: Sorry, Verizon the Gsm World is way head of you!

What is the point of GSM if they are rated at the bottom for reliability on signal and quality? Yeah it is nice to have a more open choice on handset but with no signal it means nothing. Besides this won't matter when W-CDMA is launched by most carriers here in the US(AT&T and Verizon).
VladMethos

join:2006-06-24
Gainesville, GA

Re: Sorry, Verizon the Gsm World is way head of you!

The world has gone bonkers over "open" everything and fail to realize that in some cases, open means poorer quality - in order for companies to invest in technology (R&D) to improve networks (in this case), they actually have to make money. The companies also have to make money due to investors who also want to make money (capitalism at its finest). Sum all this up and if you allow thousands of devices on a network without possibility of making money, then where is the investment in R&D coming from or investors investing? Uh...its not and the networks suffer (AT&T being a great example). Whether or not a company makes too much money or not, is not where I am going with this (its subjective) - the reality is a catch-22; GSM is more open and lower performing while CDMA is more closed and higher performing - so what do you want open and bad or closed and good?

Regardless, if you want cheap, fast or good, you only get 2!

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

1 recommendation

said by anonuser6606 :

Verizon, you are a joke for not adapting to the Gsm Network Technology instead of using outdated Fred Flintstone, Cdma technology and maybe listen and try this messege and maybe, you will have better luck!!! This is sarcasm and its me talking out my butthole. "Sarcasm Off!"
Wow, DSLR is just as I remember it. A bunch of self proclaimed experts spouting off nonsense as usual.

Just for your information, CDMA is a multiplexing method, and is plenty more advanced than TDMA, which GSM is (or was) using. The new GSM standards are based on CDMA.
SilverSurfer1

join:2007-08-19

2 edits

The More Things Change...

Business never does a thing to accomodate consumer demand unless there is proof positive they could make mountains of money from it. (Note: diaRIAA doesn't count since they are just the idiot cartel.) Not one mountain, not two, but more like 200,000,000. Case in point: FIOS. It's all about the bottom line and opening up a wireless network falls into that category notwithstanding the "luxury tier" VZ plans to implement for the access, which has yet to be proven. Let the GSM market dictate where the chips will fall. VZ may change its tune, but I doubt it. Dinosaurs of all stripes don't usually adapt, they just perish.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

2 edits

Here are a few devices that can be used by consumers

Want to use EVDO access for your home network?
This was certified by Verizon:

»www.bluetreewireless.com/product···sp?id=42
»www.reuters.com/article/rbssTech···20090106
September 23, 2008 – BlueTree’s CDMA (EV-DO Rev. A) 6000 series products are certified for use on the Verizon Wireless network.
Another one that can be used in the home:
»www.digi.com/products/cellularga···port.jsp

And another one:
»www.centredaily.com/business/tec···435.html
»www.calamp.com/home/882-evdo.html
--
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page
Ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:38

4 edits

Re: Here is 1 device certified that can be used by consumers

The BT-6600 is a $600 business modem.

The BT-6621 is an $850 business router.

Your other links are even more expensive enterprise gear. Several of which aren't even commercially available yet.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 recommendation

Re: Here is 1 device certified that can be used by consumers

said by Karl Bode:

The BT-6600 is a $600 business modem.

The BT-6621 is an $850 business router.
They can be used in the home, right?

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:38

2 recommendations

Re: Here is 1 device certified that can be used by consumers

Much business gear can be used in the home. It doesn't make them consumer gear. I guess it does if you're just trying to be obnoxious and make a point without adhering to the rules of logic...

RadioDoc
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-05-11
La Grange, IL
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Re: Here is 1 device certified that can be used by consumers

I wouldn't wander too far off in that direction, since most advanced "consumer" cell phones are in the $400-$600 range if not subsidized by the carrier.
--
Toolmaster of La Grange.
niblifar

join:2004-02-12
Ohio
It looks like someone can make it rain.
--
Vita est bona.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
said by FFH:

said by Karl Bode:

The BT-6600 is a $600 business modem.

The BT-6621 is an $850 business router.
They can be used in the home, right?
Honestly, you can do the same thing with an old PC, a $29 Verizon USB modem and pfSense. I use my verizon air card as a backup for my whole network when the power goes out (and so does cable) all the time.

Nightshade
Premium
join:2002-05-26
Salem, OR

1 edit
That's like saying a full enterprise rack server can be used at the home.

Can it be used at the home? Sure

Is it expensive? You betcha

Is it practical for use at the home by home users? No

Is it practical for use by business? Sure

Besides, 1 out of 29 products being approved for use by consumers doesn't exactly inspire great odds and confidence for the consumer market. But on the other side of the coin, it is good that Verizon has allowed independent vendors to create products to be used on their network, even though it is mostly for commercial use. A lot of commercial products have a retail basis. It remains to be seen if the vendor who are creating the devices for the commercial industry sees a practical use for their product in the retail market.
--
The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility, and out of self interest -- for himself, his family, and the future of his country -- to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state.

fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

Re: Here is 1 device certified that can be used by consumers

This sounds exactly like CableCARD, which is largely a sham to get the FCC off the cableco's backs.

NetAdmin1
CCNA

join:2008-05-22

1 recommendation

Re: Here are a few devices that can be used by consumers

said by FFH:

This was certified by Verizon:

»www.bluetreewireless.com/product···sp?id=42
Thanks for posting that... I've been looking for a device like that for a future project at work.
--
"This is a bus. You know how big a bus is?"

S_engineer
Premium
join:2007-05-16
Chicago, IL

Is anyone really suprised?

News stories at the time were geared to which companies were consumer friendly by having a type of "open source" technology open to the public.
My prediction: Verizon will the the first with PR promoting their Green Technologies to help save mother earth.
--
"When I was in junior high school, the teachers voted me the student most likely to end up in the electric chair."---Sylvestor Stallone
patcat88

join:2002-04-05
Jamaica, NY
kudos:1

rate plans

Process is open, only a couple $1000 to certify the device. Actually, as far as I know, VZ doesn't require any fees to certify the devices, and the process is all self certify (fill out the paper work with various statistics, sign it, mail it to VZ). The only problem is the AGPS accuracy test requires a trip to VZW's headquarters in NJ for a baseline GPS position.

Now the reason nobody wants to jump at the opportunity is, because VZ doesn't guarantee any rate plans or their features or their price. So you don't want to release a device that will get a sticker shock price increase on its plan, or you can't profit from the monthly fees for the device, or get the device subsidy that the user created by signing a contract with VZ (VZ takes the subsidy).

So thats why nobody is releasing any consumer devices.

ohreilly

@enta.net

Makes me glad that I live in the UK....

4 GSM networks, 5 UMTS/HSDPA networks, using the same frequencies as most of Europe.

It's certainly very nice to change networks in seconds, with a choice of thousands of devices and no operator crippling (and Nokia/SE make it very easy to undo any that happens).

None of this faffing with "opening up" networks.
bsoft

join:2004-03-28
Boulder, CO

Re: Makes me glad that I live in the UK....

Vodafone owns 45% of Verizon Wireless. You can bet that they'd be doing the same thing in the UK if the government would let them.

Not regulating which technologies mobile phone companies can use lead to a multitude of incompatible networks (GSM, UMTS, iDEN, CDMA2000) in the US.

It also, however, lead Qualcomm to develop IS-95 (CDMAone). In Europe, that never would have happened, because everyone was required to use GSM.

Guess what? Large portions of UMTS are based on technologies developed by Qualcomm for CDMA.

So, yeah, I guess I'll put up with only having two national GSM/UMTS provider choices (T-Mobile and AT&T).

Regulation always has consequences. Some of them are good (compatibility between networks). Some of them are bad (stifling innovation in new mobile technologies).
cyclone_z

join:2006-06-19
Ames, IA

wasn't fooled for a minute

I can't believe how many suckers bought this... oh wait, I guess I can. Everyone should know by now that verizon views handsets as tools to drive up ARPU.

batterup
I Can Not Tell A Lie.
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Netcong, NJ

Whaaaaaa

My Verizon stock dropped over 20% in the past year. No problem I'll give up my house so all of you can have cheap porn.