Verizon Open Access vs. Real Openness

Whenever I read about Verizon and their open access program I have to wonder how many more intepretations or uses of the term "openness" there could possibly be!?

Let's look at Europe for a minute. Ever since the type approval scheme for mobile devcies came to an end in the later part of the 1990's anyone could bring GSM and later UMTS mobile devices on the market and they could be used in all of the networks independently from the blessing of any network operator. SIM cards and devices are separated since back in the 1980's and I am only a SIM card away from using any device in any network. I would call this "openness".

Has it harmed the industry and the networks in the past decade? Quite the contrary I would argue and real live shows the result of this policy. The ecosystem is flourishing, networks are (mostly) properly built and maintained and healthy competition has prices (mostly) on an affordable level.

Perhaps the picture is painted a bit too rosy and and doubtlessly, things could still be improved. But compare that to the so called "open access" or "open development" program of Verizon where you still have to go through their lab and get their blessing before you can sell the device. On top of that, once you have an EVDO or LTE device that works on Verizon's particular (LTE) band you have to go back to them again if you want to sell your device to customers. I'd call this a "pretty firm grip". In other words, the devices have to work in a monopoly situation and the monopolist still has to give blessing before you can use their "open" network. Is this openness?

But perhaps I am missing something here? If so, please enlighten me with a comment.

2 thoughts on “Verizon Open Access vs. Real Openness”

  1. I guess the closed-mindedness comes from CDMA history, which does not have a removable (SIM) card to enable easy change of phone/network. Of course, in theory they also have RUIM, but how many US operators use them? Any insights from US users? So, the phone is firmly locked to the “owner” of the UIM. Funny thing, this user-unfriendly idea is frequently picked off by phone vendors again, with a twist: in fact, *they* want to keep ownership of the phone and force all customers through themselves as a gateway to network operators. That’s why they promote embedded/soft SIMs. Firmly locked in to the “my precious” phone vendor? No thanks. I prefer removable cards.

  2. Makes me think it parallels what Apple does with iApps. Quite controlling, but it doesn’t seem to have harmed their business model and consumers seem happy. There is a view that this ensures everything works properly before consumers see the end product. Another view is that it effectively ‘censors’ innovation.
    Orange in the UK use to do something similar with their handsets, only releasing new models when they were fully tested. It was annoying for subscribers wanting the latest and greatest phone as Orange were always the last with new phones (but nothing stopped them buying unlocked ones to use); perhaps it put some customers off? It did mean that Orange services generally worked as intended. I don’t know if they still do it.
    I like that fact that I can move devices between networks – one of the strengths of 3GSM.

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