Verizon Wireless's Walled Garden Grows, But Isn't Opening

from the still-has-walls dept

The WSJ has an article talking about how Verizon Wireless is giving more third-party mobile content providers access to its subscribers by signing individual deals with them, which allows them to sell their content to Verizon users in exchange for it taking a cut of around 30%. While there’s some talk that this represents Verizon slowly opening its walled garden, is that really the case? Adding more sites and content providers to a garden seems like a far cry from actually opening it up. The walled garden is a pointless exercise that’s bound to fail. There are so many internet services that users would like to be able to access from their mobile phones, and that’s only going to grow. However, if access to those services is dependent on operators being able to come to some sort of commercial arrangement with each one, it’s not going to work. No matter how good operators’ lawyers are, they’re not going to be able to keep up with the pace of innovation on the internet. Offering users access to just a selected subset of services — specifically, those that have decided to pay up — isn’t going to work. Operators need to focus on building open systems that deliver users the services they want, regardless of who creates them, and focus on adding value where they’re best placed to do so: by improving usability and integrating internet services with their mobile services.

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Comments on “Verizon Wireless's Walled Garden Grows, But Isn't Opening”

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misanthropic humanist says:

misleading advertising

A quick look at Verizons bumf creates the distinct impression that you can “access the internet” with their services. I expect they offer several products so I may not be comparing corretly, but if you market something as giving internet access isn’t that misleading if in fact the access is only to a small subset of partner sites?

If I bought a product or service pitched the way I see in those Verizon ads and found it was so crippled I would be terminating the contract immediately, something my statutary rights permit me to do in England under the Sale of Goods Act. It’s blatent false advertising.

Angry Rivethead says:

What keeps me with Verizon.

Yes, Verizon is GUILTY when it comes to the ringtone thing mentioned above. This can be rectified with $2.99 cable and a free copy of bitpim. If they lock thier phones so tightly that I can no longer do this…THEN I will be pissed. Verizon is one of the few providers that actually has decent coverage in VT and NH.

former cell phone user says:

After being with several cell phone companies, I think I can say with confidence that all phone companies will screw you. Though, Verizon was one of the least painful for me, I was misinformed by one of the salespeople in a store (who looked the information up on a computer and read it to me) and it caused a huge fee on my next bill. When I went back to complain, they told me it was my fault and I had to straighten it out with customer service. After being on the phone for half an hour, the customer service rep said the salesperson had to make the correction. I told the salesperson “This is BS, now I want to get someone in trouble.” She got on the computer and fixed the problem in less than a minute, though she held a disgusted smirk the whole time. You just have to expect this type of crap. Companies make their money by misleading consumers into thinking they can use their product.

todd says:

I agree the cell phone companies are just like every other company in that they try to make the most money possible. That is what any good company will do. I have had a variety of cell phones/plans over the years for business and personal with a lot of carriers. (Sprint, Ameritech, Air Touch, Cingular, CellularOne, Verizon, and most recently TMobile). I agree most of them are just interested in charging you fees above and beyond you rate plan.

I was kicked off Cingular after 2 years for ‘usign too many roaming minutes’ per month. They gave me 36hrs before the turned my phone off. I didn’t want to leave, but they forced me too. Wanting to stick with a GSM provider I switched to TMobile. I have been nothing but surprised with the quality and profesionalism of their customer service. From chanigng rate plans, online billing, trading phones in etc. They even saved me $20 bucks a month, and I never would have considered switching to them if Cingular hadn’t kicked me off. The great thing is TMobile now has very close to the same coverage as Cingular because they are roaming partners.

My opinion is that TMobile is choosing a corporate strategy to increase revenue by increasing customer satisfaction.

Nick Burns says:


I’m also on the TMobile Bandwagon. I’ve been with the pink T for two years now, and I couldn’t be more satisfied with the experience. In some places the coverage can be crappy, but I don’t have any problems where I live now. They also have great customer service and don’t lock down anything on their phones (mine, at least). I use a plain ol’ miniUSB cable to put my own ringtones, images, etc on my phone (no BT).

Here’s the only problem I’ve ever had with TMobile: I’m set up with the EasyPay system for paying my bill monthly. Unfortunately, three times in the last year, the transaction has just not taken place automatically. It doesn’t get rejected or denied – it just doesn’t occur. It’s supposed to happen on the 13th of every month. Each time this has happened, I get a bill the next month for two months worth of fees plus a $5 late fee. I call customer service and they make sure to remove the late fee and put my account in good standing. Last time this happened, I got a call back from a billing supervisor (after everything had already been resolved) apologizing for the inconvenience and offering me a credit on my next bill. TMobile really does care about their customers.

Huh? says:

It seems some of the posters are confused about what a walled garden is

A walled garden, with regards to media content, refers to a closed set or exclusive set of information services provided for users (a method of creating a monopoly or securing an information system).

This relates to internet services, so if you don’t use mobile internet it doesn’t matter. With Verizon you can’t enter a URL of your choice, only their approved sites. Cingular and Sprint are open. So is T-mobile, but their 3G network in the US is just being built

YoungLJ says:

Late Fees - Verizon Wireless

I realize this conversation is a bit dated but wanted to share some information that might be helfpul.

I work with a law firm that’s investigating Verizon Wireless’ practice of charging California consumers a flat $5 late fee and whether the practice violates California’s consumer rights laws.

Customers are charged a late fee if they don’t pay bills on time but according to California state law there may be some issues with charging a fixed late fee as a penalty. There may also be issues with charging all customers the same flat fee, regardless of the cost of monthly plans.

As part of the investigation, Hagens Berman wants to hear from any Verizon customer living in California who’s paid at least one late fee in the past four years.

You can contact the firm at or (206) 623-7292. More information on the investigation is on the firm’s Web site,

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