Into Verizon’s Secret Cellular Garden

November 30th, 2007 - 1:30 am ICT by admin  

As the dust settles on Verizon’s surprise announcement that it will open its network to third-party devices and applications, some analysts are raising questions about just how groundbreaking the development will be.

Verizon dubbed its widely publicized initiative “Any App, Any Device,” offering third-party hardware and software manufacturers the tempting possibility of marketing their products to the cellular company’s 60 million subscribers.

But with the precise technical details for accessing Verizon’s network some months away, it is difficult to know just how many third-party products will be allowed into Verizon’s secret cellular garden.

Fully Open or Just Ajar?

Greg Sterling, the principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, said he believes that there are some legitimate concerns about the sincerity of Verizon’s commitment to cellular openness.

“Although we don’t know the exact specifications yet,” Sterling said, “some skepticism has emerged about how strongly Verizon will support real openness. It looks, for instance, like Verizon is creating a two-tiered network, with one tier for its subscribers and another for third-party apps and devices. That’s not exactly ‘open.’”

Sterling also said that Verizon might not provide much support for devices or apps that it does not offer to consumers directly, which could make consumer use of the “open” network more frustrating.

At the same time, at least one analyst has suggested that the “open” network model might potentially pose problems for Verizon itself. In a guest entry for “Over the Air,” an InformationWeek blog, Frost & Sullivan VP Gerry Purdy noted that Verizon, like other cellular companies, has been largely successful in keeping the adult entertainment industry off its proprietary systems. The decision to open up those networks, Purdy suggested, might make it easier for the adult industry to roll out its own mobile applications.

Demand for Mobile Data

Despite his questions about Verizon’s approach, Sterling said he thinks that…

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