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Open Access Comes to The Forefront

Google started the movement and Verizon Wireless, once a staunch opponent of the concept, is now embracing it. Open access means operators open up their networks to enable any device and application to run on it.

Sprint has been touting the concept for its WiMAX network, saying it will let any WiMAX-certified device on the network (no need for Sprint to certify them) and the company envisions embedded WiMAX chips being included in all types of devices--cars, laptops, cameras, etc. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated that a certain portion of the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum have open-access stipulations attached to it.

Yes, open access is coming, but operators will be experimenting with the concept. The model has the opportunity to provide more innovative services, but operators will have to grapple with the end of device subsidies and finding ways to keep customers loyal.

Verizon President and COO Denny Strigl said that open access would provide the company with a "phenomenal" new source of revenue because it will allow customers to use all types of applications that developers will produce, which could potential drive lots of data traffic over the network. At the same time, he said that the model will help the firm reduce costs because it won't be a drain on customer service.

"Customer service is not a heavy expenditure on this business but will be done by those that bring services to this model," Strigl said. [FierceWireless]

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