Verizon To Unveil Open Network For 'Any Device, Any Application' Specs


The details are expected to be unveiled March 19 at the wireless giant's Open Development Device Conference in New York City, Verizon said. Version 1.0 of the technical specifications will be released and published offering information for new wireless devices that will work on Verizon's "Any Device, Any App" network-only service option.

The specifications will allow device manufacturers to create mobile devices that work on Baking Ridge, N.J.-based Verizon's wireless network, despite the devices not being offered directly by the carrier. Verizon said software developers will also be able to build products and applications that will operate on Verizon's network.

In a statement, Verizon Wireless' vice president of the Open Development Initiative Anthony Lewis said, "Verizon 1.0 will provide the roadmap for wireless device visionaries and tinkerers, as well as existing device makers, to create consumer products not offered directly by the company."

To further fuel the creation of devices and applications, Verizon has set up a $20 million testing lab where such devices will be tested and approved for compatibility.

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Opening the network will let traditional device manufacturers, consumer electronics companies and entrepreneurs with little or no wireless experience bring devices to market that work with Verizon's expansive network, which currently serves more than 65 million customers.

Verizon first discussed opening its network late last year, when it announced it would open its nationwide network up to outside mobile devices, software and applications. Verizon said wireless customers will soon be able to download any software or application on their mobile device and use the devices in ways that Verizon Wireless didn't offer directly.

"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," a Verizon statement, released in November, said. "Any device that meets the minimum technical standard will be activated on the network."

Verizon's November announcement of its open network plans sent shockwaves through the wireless industry, and Verizon's competitors quickly stepped up to claim their networks were open as well.

In December, AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega claimed that AT&T's network is and has basically always been open.

"You can use any handset on our network you want," de la Vega told USA Today then, later adding, "We don't prohibit or even police it," and: "We are the most open wireless company in the industry."

While opening up the network won't change Verizon Wireless' sales model, the carrier said it allows customers more options. Verizon will now cater to two different sets of customers. Full service customers will buy devices and services directly from Verizon and receive technical support. Network-only customers will bring their own devices to the carrier's network, but will not get services and technical support. The network-only option will be available later this year.

Lewis added that next month's conference will comprise developers and technologists who will provide input that could refine the initial device specifications. He added, however, that device developers are expected to be able to use Version 1.0 immediately after the specifications are presented.