Verizon to allow outsiders on network


NEW YORK -- In a significant change of a policy for a mobile carrier, Verizon Wireless said Tuesday 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 over 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 earlier 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. and Samsung, Motorola and LG are some of the bigger names providing the technology for the handsets.

The move is also 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 that Verizon initially objected to.

Certain devices, though, still will not be available for Verizon subscribers because the carrier runs on a CDMA network. Apple's iPhone, which is currently only legally available for AT&T customers, runs on a GSM network, for example.