29 November 2007

Verizon Wireless is opening up its network!

This has got to be the news of the month, perhaps the news of the year! It has gotten the attention of the major news sources (see this in BusinessWeek, this in the NY Times, and this over at CNet). I believe that it is no accident that it comes on the heels of the Open Handset Alliance's Android project, which has been substantially supported by Google). Not surprisingly, the blogs have been buzzing about this as well (see this from Om Malik and this from BusinessWeek). As I mentioned earlier, this was the essential vision of Tim Wu in his "Wireless Carterfone" treatise.

I applaud Verizon's move because it will almost certainly increase choice and innovation. It is likely to transform the industry in profound ways as well. I am also delighted that this move was Verizon's choice, not a policy originating from a court or a government agency. They must have a business model in mind that will make their investment more profitable for their shareholders in the long run.

The success of this effort will clearly depend on prices ... what will unbundled access cost and what will technical certification at Verizon's facilities cost. By the way, I have read some commentators who have questioned Verizon's testing ... suggesting that this should be an independent lab (I can't find the specific references anymore, regrettably). I disagree. I think it is perfectly reasonable for Verizon to establish, define and support conformance testing for devices attaching to their network.

Update (2007-12-5): This item argues why this move makes economic sense for Verizon.

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