Turns Out Verizon Wireless' Open Pledge Has Meant Almost Nothing

from the open-in-name-only dept

Over the past few years, mobile operators began to get annoyed at being called “soviet ministries” for their preference towards being extremely closed off with high garden walls. So, they suddenly started to claim they were throwing their doors wide open. Verizon Wireless kicked it off in 2007, by declaring a plan to open its network. It got a ton of press attention (especially from Verizon Wireless, who had been more closed than others). However, when the details finally came out, there was little to get excited about.

And, indeed, Broadband Reports checks in and notes that for all of the hype surrounding Verizon Wireless’ declaration of openness it’s meant a whole lot of nothingness in terms of actual products and services. In fact, Verizon’s own phones and phone service remain pretty closed. Effectively, Verizon Wireless got a PR coup by suggesting they might possibly allow more open devices on the network — should there actually be any businesses that wanted to offer that. It did work to stop criticisms and threats of regulatory interference, but it hasn’t resulted in much in the way of actual openness.

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Companies: verizon wireless

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Comments on “Turns Out Verizon Wireless' Open Pledge Has Meant Almost Nothing”

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Dmitriy Plaks (profile) says:

the Storm is fairly open

I’ve been a Verizon Wireless customer for about 2 years. Previously I had some Motorolla phone that was hugely locked down. I couldnt even download java apps. Recently I got the Blackberry Storm and I have been pleasantly surprised how open (in comparison to the previous phone) it is. I am able to download any java/blackberry app out on the internet and use the built-in GPS with the Blackberry Maps application (not just the Verizon branded one). On top of that, RIM is promising a true application store sometime in March similar to what Apple and Google have. The Storm might be the exception to the rule, but its a step forward in the right direction. Perhaps they’ll see customer feedback or good sales and will change their other phones around too.

Sailingmaster (profile) says:

Re: the Storm is fairly open

I disagree. The Storm is a perfect example of how bad Verizon is. I read an article that the Storm was specifically designed for Verizon. Which means that the Storm was crippled at the drawing board. No Wi-fi? Well of course it doesn’t have Wi-Fi. If it had Wi-Fi, then you might not need one of those so-over-the-top-overpriced data plans that Verizon is so fond of trying to shove down their customers’ necks.

Verizon will always put greed before device usability. Always.

Dmitriy Plaks (profile) says:

Re: Re: the Storm is fairly open

I agree the data plan is WAY too expensive, but the network quality is good. The speed of the CDMA network is outstanding and is comparable to a wifi connection. And yes, I have done a few tests…. My roommate has a G1 and we are able to open websites at the same speed when he’s on our home wifi and I’m on my Storm.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: the Storm is fairly open

I have never understood why a person wants wifi capability over wireless data. why be limited to where you can use your data connection. I have the Storm as well and I love the device. Like the 1st comment, I can do so much with it and the ability to use the GPS with Blackberry Maps is just awesome. Also once the company goes LTE in 2010 along with Vodafone and ATT, that is when you will start seeing more devices that are open.

Zaphod (user link) says:

Your Verizon, Your Apple, What's the difference?

Sounds like Verizon is just another Apple. Fine equipment, closed off.

As a matter of fact, I would bet most people here who say they are happy with Verizon, are happy with the Mac they are typing on too.

Personally, I still think all cellphones are electronic leashes, and would throw my PC in the garbage for a modernized 2 GHz Amiga… but that’s just me. 😛

Rich says:

Another Storm User

I’d have to admit, I was torn between the storm and the iphone. After seeing the storm, and messing with it for a while (typing, we browsing, settings), I decided to go with it. The apparent lack of wifi was almost a show stopper for me. I have not been disappointed, and not having wifi isn’t bad at all (network is pretty quick). Most of my friends have the Jesus phone, and we’ve compared many of the features. Overall, they both have their “things” about them. The only thing the iphone blows the storm away in is availability of apps, but the storm has more coming out at a rapid pace.
Verizon does nickel and dime you for their plans. Charging for visual voicemail, vz navigator, etc. is ridiculous, but I don’t use them anyway. Their standard voice and data plan prices are comparable to AT&T, though.

Joey Joe says:

Another Verizon User

I have the LG Dare (one of verizon’s 3G phones that came out in july) and its very open. I can do file transfers, stereo bluetooth. I can’t download apps but that’s because there really isn’t any for the Dare. I don’t have the data plan, but sometimes wish i had the wifi. Even if i could pay $5 to unlock it I would. I love verizon though. Customer service is awesome. Coverage is amazing. Call Quality, everything.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

It'll Come

Gents in the comments above:

All due respect, ‘how open the Storm is’ has nothing (or little) to do with Verizon’s Open Device Initiative (ODI). The ODI is about the ability for any real company to bring a device that has the right radio and frequency, and sell it with a Verizon connection – whether Verizon likes it or not.

We’re talking about new handset vendors, non-phone devices, cars, cameras, MIDs etc. RIM Storm is absolutely not the subject matter. And, yes, VZW does have a history of crippling their devices, and WiFi IS a great add-on even when you have EV-DO.

What would be on topic is something that competes with the Amazon Kindle – a new competitive eBook reader that used Verizon. BTW, I expect a device like this to be offered on the VZW network in 2009.

The One says:

People saying that Verizon Cripples wifi.....

For all of the uninformed people criticizing Verizon and saying that they cripple wifi/didn’t want wifi, tell me why does Verizon offer wifi on the Samsung Omnia, XV6800, and a few others? Why would they do that if they just don’t want us to have it? They just didn’t want it on the Storm? Then why is there no other Blackberry with wifi for a CDMA carrier? Do you also think that every CDMA carrier cripples blackberry, but not windows mobile devices? Check out Sprint, Alltel, US Cellular, Telus, and see if they offer wifi on their Curve, 8830, or there Pearl. The only cdma blackberry is a new ptt combo phone that was just released. You guys crack me up with this stuff.

David says:

Re: People saying that Verizon Cripples wifi.....

Having the WiFi on the Omnia does you no good. Verizon refuses to sell the phone now without the data package. So I have to pay $30/month just for the internet, when I could be using the WiFi for free.
I’ve been with Verizon since they were Airtouch, but this is getting crazy. Refusing to sell me a phone because I don’t want to pay for their additional overpriced features. Think I’m going to have to change networks.

To all who dont understand says:

First Blackberry Storm not having Wi-Fi isn’t a Verizon choice it’s a Blackberry choice. To date there isn’t a Blackberry on the market w/ Wi-Fi capabilities. Second it bothers me to hear people whining that they can’t jail break a phone to use on the Verizon network. Verizon “opening their network” wont take place until around 2010-2012 w/ the LTE upgrade. As it stands right now the CDMA network will only support phones that are CDMA compatible. It never ceases to amaze me when I hear people upset about something that their phone doesn’t do, and near 100percent of the time it boils down to the person truly doesn’t understand what their talking about. Lastly, id like to point out that data service does cost money… get over it!!! I understand that free is a good number. If you’ll look at the industry as a whole the cost of data service is around the same price w/ everyone. Please do me a favor… study up on the technology before you accuse a company of doing something to you. And maybe next time you won’t have to stab in the dark trying to prove something that you don’t have knowledge on.

Cindy says:

Re: Re:

Get over yourself!! Its not just the Blackberry. We understand thats there deal. The fact is any pda or smart phone even the samsung omnia that you purchase from verizon has to come with the data plan. For many who dont want it or need it makes no sense that they are forced to purchase it with all these phones that are wifi capable. So far as the price goes it sucks across the industry right now. That 29.99 price is there start 49.99 is the price for unlimited. Which Im sure you are aware of since you sound like a verizon sales rep.

Iris says:

Wi-Fi phones

ATT does offer WiFi on Blackberry – but of course it is GSM. Verizon does offer WiFi on some phones (Samsung I760 and Saga, HTC Touch Pro, Samsung Omnia, their own rather clunky devices), so it is not a question of CDMA and WiFi not being compatible on a given device, although it is of course a design consideration.

I’ve always had Verizon, and have generally been pleased, but voice signal at my home is lousy. (T-mobile HotSpot@Home would be workable, but their actual signal at my home is absolute zero, though this is irrelevant for HotSpot.) Text messages do fine. The whole structure where we’re paying a premium for texting is questionable, since voice uses more bandwidth, but all carriers are currently operating that way.

What I want is to be able to carry ONE smallish device – as PDA, phone, and for web access. It is for this reason I want WiFi for those places where signal strength is low (inside large buildings, primarily). The carriers with WiFi don’t have great coverage (I’ve used Verizon all over national parks and remote areas), and Verizon which has pretty good coverage, doesn’t offer WiFi on a device I really want. So I’m still waiting….

Deanne says:

Verizon and WiFi

Ok, I have Verizon and want to get a new phone, the Samsung Omnia to be exact. I called Verizon today and the lady told me I will have to purchase the 29.99 a month data package with that phone if I want to access the internet via WiFi on it. I told her I thought WiFi was always free, and she said “not on that phone or any other Verizon WiFi capable phone that has come out after November of 2008”. I asked her again, “so it is impossible to get on the internet in my house through my router or any other hot-spot without paying that fee?” She replied, “that’s right, WiFi will not work without purchasing the data package”. WTF??? I really want that phone, but refuse to pay another 30 bucks a month to Verizon! Can someone please educate me a little here????

kris says:

Re: Verizon and WiFi

I can help. Its not that the Wi-Fi wont work w/ out the Verizon Broadband service plan, its that the service on all Verizon smart phones costs 29.99 and is a requirement on all PDA and smart phones. The advantage is that you can use both. Meaning that when you dont have the ability to use Verizon’s 3g network you can post up in a hot spot and have access to Wi-Fi’s public technology. You can even toggle the Wi-Fi off and on. Whenever you want to access secure info. like banking online, its in your interest to use the Verizon Broadband based on the security attached to the network. I dont know if this helps at all. Im a Verizon rep. and it bothers me to hear about my fellow reps. not explaining the situation correctly.

mike says:

Re: Re: Verizon and WiFi

please we are sleeping with the enemy here its ridiculous that we have to pay 29.99 or 49.99 for so called unlimited to use wifi when someone else is paying for that connection its just overpriced and that goes for all carriers I worked for the biggest so dont try to reason im not whining lifes just unfair and the wifi issue with verizon is just a prime example

kris says:

On a second note, unless you are using the phone for business use(meaning email and wireless sync. for you contact management) you may consider the LG Dare or the Voyager. The phone offers you basic capabilities for phone calls, txting, email and all kinds of media stuff. And as an added bonus you have the full html browsing ability. PLUS… the internet service isnt a requirement and if you do opt for the internet service on it the service costs between 10dollars and 15dollars. But if Wi-Fi is what your looking for you’ll have to get a smart phone and a smart phone plan.

Deanne says:

LG Renoir

I am going to keep the phone I have…piss on Verizon. They get enough of my money with the 2 accounts we have with them, totaling 10 people in all…we pay them enough money already! Can someone tell me this??? From the beginning of my phone shopping, I had my eye on the LG Renoir which Verizon’s network DOES NOT support, and that is why I decided on the Omnia. Well phooey on the Omnia now, I aint gettin it! I love every feature of the Renoir, soooo, can someone tell me, if I still bought the Renoir (not supported by Verizon), wouldn’t everything except the Verizon features work on it…including WiFi? Wouldn’t it be like a Pocket PC? I really want the WiFi and the camera that phone has, but don’t want to waste my money. Anyone know for sure if all but Verizon network features will work? Thanks!!!!

MrktMind says:


I have been a Verizon customer for 15 years. I just learned that my “new every two” was ready and really wanted a wifi phone so I could connect to Skype while at home – since Verizon service really sucks at my home. No go – the Omnia requires the $30 per month data plan but the Samsung i760 – also a wifi phone – has a pay as you go option. I’m going to look elsewhere.

Sid says:

Ofcourse its a closed network!

Verizon is the worse of the whole bunch, they run the network like walled kingdoms afraid of competition and gouging customers.
Its just like how these networks limited the Bluetooth profiles early on so the customer could only use the network data service – now its no wi-fi.
The whole ODI process is expensive! It prevents many applications from emerging and unfair.

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