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Verizon opens network to outside devices and applications

The following press release announces that Verizon will allow customers to run non-Verizon phones and software on the Verizon network starting at the end of 2008. Considering how many people are trying to get the iPhone to work on other networks, I wonder if other carriers will follow in Verizon's footsteps:

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – Verizon Wireless today announced that it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company.  Verizon Wireless plans to have this new choice available to customers throughout the country by the end of 2008.

In early 2008, the company will publish the technical standards the development community will need to design products to interface with the Verizon Wireless network.  Any device that meets the minimum technical standard will be activated on the network.  Devices will be tested and approved in a $20 million state-of-the-art testing lab which received an additional investment this year to gear up for the anticipated new demand.  Any application the customer chooses will be allowed on these devices.

This new option goes beyond just a change in the design, delivery, purchase, and provisioning of wireless devices and applications.

“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 Lowell McAdam, Verizon Wireless president and chief executive officer.  “Verizon Wireless is not changing our successful retail model, but rather adding an additional retail option for customers looking for a different wireless experience.”

Verizon Wireless will continue to provide a full-service offering, from retail stores where customers can shop, to 24/7 customer service and technical support, to an easy-to-use handset interface and optimized software applications.

While most Verizon Wireless customers prefer the convenience of full service, the company is listening through today’s announcement to a small but growing number of customers who want another choice without full service.

Both full-service and “bring-your-own” customers will have the advantage of using America’s most reliable network. Following publication of technical standards, Verizon Wireless will host a conference to explain the standards and get input from the development community on how to achieve the company’s goals for network performance while making it easy for them to deliver devices.

Verizon Wireless has a track record of listening to customers and transforming entrenched industry practices based on those customer needs.  The company parted with the industry last year when it introduced pro-rated early termination fees, and in 2004 when it refused to participate in a wireless directory when customers said they didn’t want one.  Verizon Wireless also broke with “wireless tradition” when it supported local number portability because customers wanted the freedom to take their number if they switched service providers.  Such responsiveness to customers has earned Verizon Wireless the strongest brand reputation in the industry.

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