Verizon opens door to all

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In a significant change of policy for a mobile carrier, Verizon Wireless said Tuesday that it would allow devices, software and other applications not offered by the company to run on its network.

By early 2008, the mobile giant will publish technical standards for third-party developers to make cell phones, mobile devices and other applications that would be compatible with its network. Verizon subscribers will then have the option of sticking with company-offered software and hardware or switching to a different company's offerings.

The move, which shocked many observers because Verizon and other carriers had previously been seen as protective of their networks, is seen as a reaction to Google's Android platform, announced this month. In this initiative, the search company will make free mobile software available for use on phones, with Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile signed on to be carriers for the phones in the U.S.

The move also is seen as an appeal to the FCC ahead of the 700 MHz spectrum auction next month, in which Google has been mentioned as a front-runner. In July, the FCC added regulations ensuring that the spectrum would go to an open network, a stipulation to which Verizon initially objected.
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