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Verizon Wireless To Open Network

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the bring-your-own dept.

Cellphones 286

A number of readers are letting us know about Verizon's plans, announced today, to open their nationwide wireless network to devices that they don't sell. A NYTimes blog posting puts VZW's announcement in industry context. From the press release: "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. Any device that meets the minimum technical standard will be activated on the network. Devices will be tested and approved in a $20 million state-of-the-art testing lab which received an additional investment this year to gear up for the anticipated new demand. Any application the customer chooses will be allowed on these devices."

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286 comments

Google pressure (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495459)

It looks like they feel the heat from the big G.

No (5, Informative)

Jonesy69 (904924) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495479)

No, the iPhone wont work. Lets just clear that up right now.

Re:No (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495557)

How do you know?

Re:No (3, Insightful)

timbck2 (233967) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495817)

For the iPhone to work on Verizon's network, one of two things has to happen:

(1) Apple releases a CDMA version of the iPhone

(2) Verizon changes their network over to GSM nationwide.

(2) isn't going to happen. (1) might, but not until AT&T's exclusive on the iPhone has expired (2012?)

Re:No (4, Insightful)

DECS (891519) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495971)

Well Verizon Wireless is almost entirely CDMA2000+ EVDO, while the iPhone uses GSM + EDGE. Unless Verizon rolls out a huge WiFi network, the iPhone won't be able to use Verizon's network. On the other hand, it appears that the move was pushed by the popularity of the iPhone, and the threat of Google. With Verizon locked out of 27% of the US mobile phone market within just a few months of iPhone sales*, it wants/needs as much telephony tied to CDMA2000 as possible as a counterbalance. If Google can buy up and deploy open networks on the old analog TV spectrum within a few years, that would leave Verizon's ~$5 billion new CDMA2000/EVDO networks a vast, unsalable investment that can't be monetized in the subsidy lock model of the 90s.

*iPhone Grabs 27% of US Smartphone Market [roughlydrafted.com]

Re:No (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21496397)

That's 27% of the *smartphone* market, which is not even close to 27% of the mobile phone market. Same article later talks about Apple having 3% marektshare overall, which is not nerely as impressive.

Re:No (0)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495641)

Actually, on the contrary this may be a move by Verizon to put a hurt on AT&T's monopoly over the iPhone. I wouldn't be surprised if they designed this with the iPhone specifically in mind.

Re:No (0, Redundant)

k_187 (61692) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495747)

Yes, but you're still not going to get the iPhone running on Verizon's network. Unless Apple makes a new version with a CDMA radio in it. I'd imagine that their deal with AT&T would preclude that.

Why it's an iPhone Killer (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496557)

Actually, on the contrary this may be a move by Verizon to put a hurt on AT&T's monopoly over the iPhone. I wouldn't be surprised if they designed this with the iPhone specifically in mind.

Unless Apple reworks the iPhone to work on Verizon, the iPhone will not work. However, this move encourages other manufacturers to venture into an iPhone like device without being exclusive to Verizon, or being otherwise contracted to Verizon. It opens the device market to some of the more advanced thinking taking place in Japan and Korea. It even allows for the development of open platforms similar to openMoko.

Apple will do best if they buy out the remainder of the AT&T contract, or they will be sent packing as the first-to-market-last-to-respond-to-changes device.

Re:No (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496101)

No, the iPhone wont work.

It won't work for me, since as I work I can't afford one. Not this year anyway; the price will surely go down and I'll surely catch up on my expenses [slashdot.org].

-mcgrew

This seems very much unlike Verizon (4, Interesting)

yincrash (854885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495483)

I'm in shock. Verizon is fairly well known for locking down every phone they offer. What spurred the sudden change of heart? Google Android?

Re:This seems very much unlike Verizon (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495515)

Verizon has been becoming more friendly towards there customers over the last few years.
No, not perfect.
Any company that lowers the price of their product, even to people in a contract for a higher amount, is pretty good in my book.

Re:This seems very much unlike Verizon (4, Insightful)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495587)

IMHO, that's untrue. My company has used Verizon for years, and they are NOT becoming more friendly towards us. They have better PR people now, but they are just as much on the lookout for "revenue leak" as they've always been. Any company that treats their customer as opponents in some sort of battle for cash is not customer friendly. A good business deal should benefit both parties involved. That's not done by screwing your customers.

Re:This seems very much unlike Verizon (5, Funny)

2PAIRofACES (302747) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496105)

A good business deal should benefit both parties involved. That's not done by screwing your customers.
Unless of course you're business is prostitution.

Holy Crap!!! I just realized I figured out the mythical step 2.

Step 1. Screw your customers!
Step 2. Make sure you're a prostitute!
Step 3. Profit!

Re:This seems very much unlike Verizon (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496139)

Any company that treats their customer as opponents in some sort of battle for cash is not customer friendly. A good business deal should benefit both parties involved. That's not done by screwing your customers.

Welcome to the 21st century. If you run across a "customer friendly" company let me know and I'll become their customer.

I miss the days when most businessmen weren't sociopaths!

-mcgrew

Re:This seems very much unlike Verizon (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496269)

I've run across a great many companies that operate like this. Unfortunately, most of them are small(ish) local businesses. Simple psychology. It's harder to screw someone over when you have to look them in the eye. I do, however, go to great lengths to work with those companies in my business.

Re:This seems very much unlike Verizon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21496089)

Verizon has been becoming more friendly towards there customers over the last few years.
No, not perfect.
Any company that lowers the price of their product, even to people in a contract for a higher amount, is pretty good in my book.
I don't know about Verizon Wireless, but that certainly hasn't been my experience with Verizon DSL. I called them to ask why they were charging me $40/month when they were advertising $25/month. I learned from their customer support guy that the price had been lowered to $25 nine months ago, but they "couldn't" change my rate unless I called in and complained, because "our database isn't capable of just changing everyone's price." A few months later, when they raised their price from $25/month to $30/month, their database was apparently fixed, since they had no problem making that adjustment without me calling in.

I told my mother to call them because she was also paying $40/month. When she asked why she was being billed so much more than what they were advertising, she was told that the prices were different for different speeds. Since she isn't technical, she accepted that without knowing that she was on the slowest (768kbps up, 128kbps down) plan. I told her to leave them and go to Cavalier, which she did. Scum.

Re:This seems very much unlike Verizon (5, Insightful)

jtara (133429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495541)

I wonder how much the Amazon Kindle has to do with this? (The Kindle uses EVDO through Sprint to download books, and Amazon picks up the tab for the airtime.)

It seems to me like this is more oriented toward that type of specialized device, rather than simply a "bring your own phone" option.

I think Verizon may have realized that there is potentially a huge new market to be tapped, which could go to WiFi or other carriers if they don't provide the ability to use these type of devices on their network.

Re:This seems very much unlike Verizon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495577)

I do believe it's Google they're worried about, but not because of Android. This sounds suspiciously like the terms required by the wireless spectrum auction. On one hand, I'd say maybe they're preparing so they can have a unified platform that uses the other spectrum; on the other hand, it could be a show of good faith to the FCC.

Unprecedented doesn't begin to describe it (4, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495487)

What might Verizon have up their sleeve on this one? They have traditionally been a VERY closed, clandestine network that offers no support for third party anything, and a very aggressive attitude against any efforts to open up (bluetooth lockout is one example). To see them changing their attitude is great, but what is the catch?

Re:Unprecedented doesn't begin to describe it (4, Interesting)

kackle (910159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495695)

Undoubtedly it was in response to Google's bidding to make an "open spectrum".

As a person who has explored making a device for use on Ver*izon's network (job related), I tell you that there is a substantial certification fee for such devices; 2 years ago anyway I was told it was roughly a couple of hundred thousand dollars for a design. I wonder whether they are changing that too...

Bait and Switch (5, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496067)

The tiger can't change its stripes and I don't expect Verizon to either.

from the summary: "Devices will be tested and approved"

This is the classic strategy whereby they get bragging rights "It's wide open!!!" and yet mysteriously few, if anything will ever get on because of the details conspicuously absent from the announcement.

1. How much does testing cost?
2. How much does approval cost?
3. Once it's approved, how much is the daily/weekly/monthly tax the device/app builder pays to Verizon?

This is Extreme Marketing 101. All the hot oil you can dream up and no popcorn.

Re:Unprecedented doesn't begin to describe it (1)

GuyWithLag (621929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496201)

Simple: don't allow handsets/devices to talk via the network directly. Instead, they have to talk with a third-party provider, and charge based on bandwidth used that provider. Like the Amazon/Sprint deal with the kindle.

Re:Unprecedented doesn't begin to describe it (1)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496297)

What might Verizon have up their sleeve on this one? They have traditionally been a VERY closed, clandestine network that offers no support for third party anything, and a very aggressive attitude against any efforts to open up (bluetooth lockout is one example). To see them changing their attitude is great, but what is the catch?
Not a catch - this is a response to them losing customers. I can tell you this from personal experience. Their network is great, but everything else about their service sucks. To get any deal you need a 2 year contract; and this essentially allows them to tell you to go to hell if you ever do have a problem. The service in their stores is horrible - any cell phone problem is remedied by trying to sell you another cell phone at an absurd premium - how does $250 for a mediocre LG flip phone sound? I can get an iPhone for slightly more. Anyways - after they refused to help me acquire a new phone when I lost mine (they offered me to pay $250 to replace my lost phone), and then didn't help me fix an older VZ phone (from previous contract) I ended up using - I sucked it up, canceled my 2yr contract 8mos before expiration, and got Tmobile w/ the Blackberry Pearl instead. While the area coverage is worse than Verizon's, I am infinitely happier - I got a 1 year contract, 50% more minutes, unlimited data/email, + txt msgs for only $20 more a month. Once the contract ends, I'll prob move to AT&T/iPhone.

Re:Unprecedented doesn't begin to describe it (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496435)

Maybe it's something like: you can use any hardware and any apps you want, but they can only connect to Verizon paid services.

I agree, though-- it sounds great, but what's the catch? I have a hard time believing there's no catch.

Re:Unprecedented doesn't begin to describe it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21496465)

Bluetooth is my biggest issue with VZW right now (disabling OBEX in their handsets). Will this allow users to fully utilize Bluetooth in future handsets? Will new handsets be 'locked' into the same cookie-cuttered software they seem to force on all of their handsets?
 
...maybe I'm asking for too much? ;)

this spells the end of things (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495503)

linux fags will be infesting verizon. soon every cellphone will have aids.

Re:this spells the end of things (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496205)

linux fags will be infesting verizon. soon every cellphone will have aids.

You realise that the computer vuruses are all geared towards Microsoft, don't you Mr. Cowardly Homophobe? Or is that "Mr. Closet?" Viruses are one reason I'd not want a phone (or car system like that Ford) "Powered by Windows".

And I wish all the heterosexual guys would turn gay, so I could have their women! Damned jocks...

-mcgrew

(mods, you did good on that one.)

Let me get this straight... (5, Interesting)

Shoeler (180797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495507)

The most evil of evil cellular companies, the company that replaces perfectly unacceptable, already crippled stock phone operating systems with COMPLETELY UTTERLY crippled operating systems, the same one who if you buy their Motorola RAZR and try to use MOTOROLA's OWN MOBILE PHONE TOOLS, will not allow said use. The same one who requires a USB CHARGER PURCHASED FROM THEM, when any charger will suffice, is now opening their network???!!!

'Scuse me - that sizzling sound was hell freezing over.

Google- trend setter? (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495629)

is that this has a LOT to do with Google's latest bid on the 700mhz spectrum. If not the reason, this latest action by Google certainly is on the top list of reasons why Verizon probably did this abrupt change. It reminds me of the kind of paradigm Gmail set with its massive space offerings. Suddenly, Hotmail went from a puny 2 megabytes of space to a whopping 200mb+ in a few months. Yahoo, and practically all the major email companies have massive storage because of the shift. My hunch is we are going to be seeing a paradigm shift within the cell industry, not just Verizon. I hope so at least :)

RAZR brain transplant, please? (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496001)

So how long until I can replace the POS crippled RAZR firmware with the proper "original" Motorola RAZR firmware? and I don't mean a hacked copy, I mean a legit approved download from motorola.com or verizonwireless.com or walk into a Verizon store and get it re-flashed in 5 minutes???

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

tim_darklighter (822987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496133)

I didn't see it in the article, but does this mean Verizon will allow other software on phones now, i.e. can I unbrick my RAZR and actually use bluetooth to do things like putting my own ringtones on it, or will all non-Verizon phones be required to use VCast and the other crap software they have?

Translated (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495517)

Any application the customer chooses will be allowed on these devices.

We know Google won't sign any exclusive contracts and we want a piece of their mobile action when the time comes and people bring us the device...

Re:Translated (3, Funny)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495615)

I think you just hit the nail right between the eyes.

Re:Translated (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495833)

I think you just hit the nail right between the eyes.
We HAVE to get you a metaphor book Doc... This mix and match shit has got to go...

Oblig Brannigan (3, Interesting)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496091)

"If we hit that bullseye, then the rest of the dominos will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate."

Any device? (4, Interesting)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495535)

Any device that meets the minimum technical standard will be activated on the network
That's a helluva loophole. It's possible that they just want to protect their network from rogue devices, but I think they could use that clause to deny a lot of devices. Also, the article mentions fees associated with testing. Are those fees geared towards the individual consumer or phone manufacturers? Hundreds or millions of dollars?

I'd like to be optimistic, but I've (unwillingly) been a Verizon customer for years, and I'd be surprised to see a leopard change its spots...

Re:Any device? (1)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495673)

I'd like to be optimistic, but I've (unwillingly) been a Verizon customer for years, and I'd be surprised to see a leopard change its spots...
Yeah, this is such a non-announcement it's not even funny. Verizon can pretend to be open, when in truth their network uses a proprietary version of CDMA which is not even compatible with any of the GSM hardware out there. So basically, nobody will ever become certified, unless they really want them to be, and the only companies with the money and time to apply are the ones that are already providing them with handsets like Motorola, LG, etc.

Verizon gets to pretend "see, we're open, really" when meanwhile the barriers to entry are still so friggin' high that you need a multi-million dollar R&D budget just to play in their proprietary sandbox.

No thanks... Go to hell and take your locked down proprietary handsets with you.

Re:Any device? (1)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495867)

Verizon can pretend to be open, when in truth their network uses a proprietary version of CDMA which is not even compatible with any of the GSM hardware out there.

That's like saying they use a Philip head screwdriver which is not even compatible with any of the Robertson head screws out there (GSM uses TDMA signalling, not CDMA). And Verizon's network is CDMA2000, a TIA standard.

Re:Any device? (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496023)

As you say, the fee they're discussing is unspecified. There are probably small hardware companies that will take advantage of this opening. I don't think Verizon isn't 100% bullshitting here. However that being said, I don't think Verizon is showing all its cards on this.

Re:Any device? (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496025)

proprietary version of CDMA which is not even compatible with any of the GSM hardware out there.
You do realize that GMS and CDMA are entirely different standards, right? What you just said there makes no sense.

I'm not a fan of Verizon either, but all the carriers in the US lock their phones. And the decision to go CDMA or GSM is largely made by the phone manufacturer, based most entirely on market penetration.

And in other news,square pegs/round holes dont mix (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496069)

Errr... Verizon, Sprint and Alltel all use CDMA phones that are compatible with each other's network without a problem. No, you can't use a GSM phone with a CDMA network, but so what? I can't fit square pegs in a round hole, but that does not cause me to rail against companies that make those square pegs.

CDMA has some distinct advantages over GSM, which is why some networks use it. It is not merely to be difficult. Yes, the fact that most of the rest of the world doesn't use it is a problem, but that doesn't bother those of us that don't leave the U.S. often enough for it to matter.

SirWired

Re:Any device? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21496123)

I don't believe one word of this propaganda either.

Verizon refused to activate my Kyocera 7135, which was stamped with their logo, because of some lame excuse.

My guess is that this will actually turn into a super-expensive licensing program, with consumers kicked in the teeth as usual.

Re:Any device? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496199)

when in truth their network uses a proprietary version of CDMA which is not even compatible with any of the GSM hardware out there

Do you understand what you say? Their network is CDMA, not a "proprietary version of". Other CDMA devices can, in theory, be used on their network - with the caveat that the device ID, etc, needs to be allowed to register by the provider.

CDMA and GSM were never intended to be, never will be, compatible, and it has precisely fuckall to do with Verizon.

Re:Any device? (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496363)

For what it's worth, Verizon Wireless is publicly committed to switching to the 4G version of GSM, known as "UMTS Release 8" or "LTE" [wikipedia.org], within the next few years. So yes, they will be switching to (a version of) GSM, albeit not the 2G version.

UMTS Rel. 8 is a very open system even compared to previous versions of GSM. It's all-IP and sufficiently layered that you - the end user - could use the lower layers as a pure Internet-access medium with your own VoIP protocols, or at an opposite extreme use a phone that can roam on WiMAX networks with the upper layers of Rel. 8 implemented over WiMAX's Internet access network. So despite the cynicism, Verizon Wireless's announcement of more openness today is in keeping with the direction they're likely to head in anyway.

If Sprint and Alltel can be persuaded to switch to Rel. 8 too, then we might finally see a universally supported standard in the US that's actually worth using as well.

Re:Any device? (1)

penultimatepost (597514) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495897)

As long as the minimum requirements are clearly stated, I don't see how there is a loophole, Noe if the requirements are unreasonable, a moving target or worse not clearly specified you have a bit of an issue.

Re:Any device? -Pretty much! (3, Informative)

appleguru (1030562) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495967)

No official word on pricing, etc, but as of now anyways it looks like it will be both affordable and not too difficult to meet the "minimum technical standard"

From ars [arstechnica.com] (Emphasis mine):

All applications, operating systems, and runtime environments are supported so long as the devices connect properly to Verizon's CDMA network (they can make use of either the company's cellular and PCS bandwidth). The fee for certification of devices will be "surprisingly reasonable," we're told, and the program will be open to anyone. One Verizon exec went so far as to say that if someone builds a device in their basement on a breadboard, Verizon will test it and activate it. Smaller players will definitely be able to get in on the action, something that hasn't previously been possible.

Re:Any device? (1)

BlueMerle (1161489) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496315)

From the Ars write up on this:

One Verizon exec went so far as to say that if someone builds a device in their basement on a breadboard, Verizon will test it and activate it. Smaller players will definitely be able to get in on the action, something that hasn't previously been possible.

John Stratton, Verizon's chief marketing officer, noted that Verizon will support far more than simply handsets, and it hopes that the move to open its network will unleash an explosion of wireless innovation. Everything from wireless water meters to digital cameras to game devices can feature Verizon connectivity without needing a Verizon-built or approved device. The only limits will be "subject to the imagination of the marketplace," said Stratton.

I think this is as clear as it gets, as long as it's truthful.

Re:Any device? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496411)

I'd like to be optimistic, but I've (unwillingly) been a Verizon customer for years, and I'd be surprised to see a leopard change its spots...

How can you be an "unwilling" customer? Are they the only company in your area?

Cingular sure changed their spots when AT&T bought them out. I was perfectly happy with my $50 per month bill, never going over my minutes, and then BAM all of a sudden I'm using $150 a month, then $450 a month, then $150 when they've shut off the service!

We, as nerds, need to create some sort of wireless mesh that doesn't need the carriers' networks. I'm sick of being shafted by the corporate sociopaths.

-mcgrew

Re:Any device? (1)

Ghubi (1102775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496487)

You're missing the point.

Any application the customer chooses will be allowed on these devices.
It's not about making it easier for phone makers to design phones that will connect to Verizon. It's about being able to run any software I choose to run, including software that I wrote, on my electronic devices.

This is non-news... (3, Insightful)

lstellar (1047264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495551)

...until Verizon defines "technical standards," fleshes out billing methods and joins the Google alliance (along with Sprint/Nextel and T-Mobile). Until then, this just sounds like evil Verizon trying to up their Karma modifier.

Peachy.... (2, Informative)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495559)

Peachy. So I can now get mobile devices by a wide range of vendors, and pay Verizon large amounts of money every month to use those devices. What great altruists are Verizon.

Verizon charges US$60 a month to access their data service from my computer via my phone.

I tried calling a modem under my control as a data call - while modem speeds aren't great, they are better than nothing, and I'd gladly spend minutes I wouldn't otherwise use for those rare occasions I want data access but have no WiFi.

It didn't work.

I verified that I could call the modem with a normal phone - thus the only variable left was Verizon. I contacted them, and asked them about this. I was VERY CLEAR that I was not trying to access their data service, but rather my own modem.

Their response? "Oh, you need the US$60 plan to do that." I need to pay them US$60 a month to access my own damn modem.

Sorry, but being able to access Verizon with other people's devices doesn't really thrill me - especially since every one of those devices will still have to license the CDMA patents form Qualcomm - the Microsoft of the phone industry.

Re:Peachy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495669)

I need to pay them US$60 a month to access my own damn modem.

Yes, you need to get the data plan in order to be permitted to transfer data over their network. You're not paying $60 for an IP address assigned from their modem bank, you're paying $60 for filling up a slot in their network with something that isn't voice and is probably not going to hang up after a couple of minutes.

Re:Peachy.... (4, Informative)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495757)

I am not trying to defend Verizon, a company I actively hate, but I'd like to explain why this didn't work.

Most digital voice service uses lossy compression, like the mp3 format. If you lossily compress the analog modem noise you won't have a stable signal. You would find the same problem with pretty much any cellular service and most VOIP services. Even with lossless compression you would probably have problems and end up with a low data rate.

Re:Peachy.... (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495797)

Mod parent up. Between lossy compression, generally crappy audio quality, latency and jitter, todays modems just can't handle it. If they could, they would most likely rate down to a speed so slow, you wouldn't use it anyway. Sorry dude. POTS with a guaranteed spectrum is what you need for modems.

Re:Peachy.... (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495929)

Yeah, I didn't even go into all that. I hear so many problems with cellphones that would munge a modem connection: Reverb, dropouts, clipping, ridiculously low fidelity, etc. Heck, it even interferes with communication using spoken English.

I suspect that a cellphone-optimized modem standard could get decent throughput, but what an idiotic idea. You already have a digital connection, just lame pricing schemes.

Re:Peachy.... (1)

bernywork (57298) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496495)

Most handsets however, will behave as a modem, allowing you to use the handset as a 9.6k modem to call the destination number. This in the GSM world is known as a data call. I presume that something similar exists in the CDMA world.

Re:Peachy.... (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495845)

Have you actually tried doing it? I'd be interested to find out what actually happens and what connection speeds are possible. I understand the compression issues, but the modem sends pretty clear tones. I guess it depends on the compression. If it compresses with an eye towards human voice ( non exact frequencies, remove anything not noticeable), rather than just doing some blind frequency filtering then I guess it makes sense. Still, I'd expect at least 900 baud ( if you can find a modem that goes that low), I connected with my voice at 300.

Re:Peachy.... (3, Informative)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495911)

No, a data call initiated by Bluetooth DUN does NOT go through the vocoder - rather, it is encapsulated on a 1xRTT channel and transmitted instead of voice data. At the far end the system then takes the data out of the 1xRTT data stream, digitally modulates it into modem signaling, and injects that into the PSTN as standard PCM data.

This doesn't even tie up a "modem", as all that is happening is that the base equipment is just using a time slot on the PSTN trunk, just like a voice call.

So, this is UNLIKE using their US$60 service, as this is using a single 1xRTT voice slot (thus burdening the system no more than a voice call), instead of taking up a chunk of the EVDO channels available.

Moreover, Verizon *used* to offer exactly this sort of service: you could do a normal 1xRTT data call to their system and access the Internet at the relatively slow speeds of 1xRTT for only the cost of the minutes used..

Re:Peachy.... (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496187)

So, this is UNLIKE using their US$60 service, as this is using a single 1xRTT voice slot (thus burdening the system no more than a voice call), instead of taking up a chunk of the EVDO channels available.

Why wouldn't your phone try to use evdo when making a 'data call'? Why would it just use a 1x channel? I would have thought a phone would attempt to use the fastest data connection available when making a data call by default.

Just curious, not saying you are wrong. I don't claim to know anything about the handshaking or routing process for cellular data, especially the newer stuff.

Re:Peachy.... (1)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496241)

Oh, I misunderstood. I thought you were placing a voice call to avoid paying for their data package. I guess I don't understand your complaint.

technically not possible (1)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495969)

This isn't Verizon's fault; it's technically not possible to call analog modems over cellular phones, on any carrier.

Re:technically not possible (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496515)

That's surprising, since I use my RAZR as a bluetooth modem for my laptop when I need to. Sure I only get 19200 baud, but it does work. I believe your facts are incorrect.

Re:Peachy.... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496109)

I was under the impression that modems and other analog data transfer methods like fax machines didn't work over cell phones, or other digital networks. When the analog signal is converted to digital, it loses some information, and the modem at the other end can't decipher the signal. Unless you're trying to do something completely different, in which case I misunderstood you.

Re:Peachy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21496381)

Your phone sucks?

I can do this over a serial link on my LG phone from 2001. 14.4Kbps, but it works.

Re:Peachy.... (1)

tomz16 (992375) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496459)

You can dial any modem at 14.4k for free (just using minutes) from any vzw cell account... I have personally confirmed this works on several phones... If you just want to use the internet, then they provide their own DUN number. #777 user/pass = qnc/qnc for 14.4k, so you don't need your own ISP or modem bank. BUT IT DOES WORK WITH ANY MODEM on POTS!!! (FYI : Contrary to what many other posters here assumed, the signaling is digital between your phone and tower, it gets modulated/demodulated)

This is the only solution advertised and supported by them. (I believe it used to be called mobile office, or something like that)

You DO need to ensure you have the right modem init string in order to get your phone to drop down to this data rate. Do some reading on the net.

--The stuff below is unadvertised, but also confirmed working by me and many others--

In a 1xRTT service area, if you have National Access MOU enabled on your account you can get 144k service to the internet. I called customer service to get this code on my account when it first came out, but I believe it's now added automatically to all new accounts. phone number = #777, user = (yourphonenumber@vzw3g.com), pass = vzw. Again, just uses minutes. (To use this, you usually have to change a setting in a programming screen on your phone to disable EVDO)

If you poke around in your phone's firmware and change the tethering profile details, you can also tether at full EVDO speeds using just minutes. I'm able to get full EVDO over bluetooth with my plain old verizon razr v3c (stock firmware)... again, just using regular plan minutes. I've used this all over the US, and the performance for EVDO is very comparable to my first DSL connection! Again, do some research on the net. The info is out there.

-Tom

Verizon is starting to get it (1)

DarthTeufel (751532) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495593)

Its just a good sign that Verizon is starting to get it. They're starting to understand that keeping things closed and proprietary might not be the best business model. They understand that they have the infrastructure up that a company like Google needs to make their cell phone work. And even their FiOS TV is slowly starting to come around. Its going to be rough for a bit, and right now their FioS customer service absolutely stinks (I recently made the switch)... but they're trying.

Re:Verizon is starting to get it (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495645)

No, they don't "get it." They want to new spectrum to remain closed (the opposite of what Google is pushing for) so that when the FCC finally does agree to let it remain closed, VZW will nix their open access shortly after.

Re:Verizon is starting to get it (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495653)

Are they starting to get it, as you suggest, or are they getting something else -- that the FCC might soon ban them from locking down their network & sold hardware?

T-Mobile, AT&T, and Apple are already getting sued for this...

Open to what? (0, Troll)

LamerX (164968) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495625)

You will be open to all devices EXCEPT anything that uses GSM. Big whoop, it's still a proprietary phone system. It's like using Visual Studio, sure you can pay to access the API, but it still won't work with other systems.

Re:Open to what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495679)

It's like using Visual Studio, sure you can pay to access the API, but it still won't work with other systems.

Mono [wikipedia.org]?

Re:Open to what? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495905)

You will be open to all devices EXCEPT anything that uses GSM.

Oh come off it. Its not like Verizon is excluding GSM to be spiteful or something. The radios are fundamentally different, and their entire infrastructure is CDMA and doesn't support GSM. They couldn't allow GSM if they wanted to.

That said, much of Asia is CDMA, and the number of imported asian cdma phones that have the potential to work with Verizon is pretty huge.

Re:Open to what? (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496579)

I thought that the Asian CDMA phones used different frequency bands? I'd kill to get some of those slick Korean smartphones over here.

Re:Open to what? (1)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495945)

A proprietary phone system used by seven out of twelve major cellular carriers in the United States?

Re:Open to what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21496117)

are you really that fucking dumb or are you just a troll fag?

Re:Open to what? (1)

San-LC (1104027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496167)

That's like being mad at an apple because it's not a vegetable. Mad at Dell because you can't run Mac OS X on a PC. Your argument is flawed.

iPhone? (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495647)

Is this an attempt to lure iPhone users to their network? Pretty interesting considering they had the first opportunity at being the exclusive network for the iPhone.

Re:iPhone? (1)

jspayne (98716) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495737)

Nope. iPhone is currently a GSM phone - a fundamentally different and incompatible technology.

Re:iPhone? (1)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496151)

Erm, that's an unlikely motivation considering the iPhone wouldn't work on their network (GSM device, CDMA network).

sprint - verizon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495709)

So can you take a Sprint phone and have Verizon activate it? That could be interesting. If I'm not mistaken, neither company lets you activate the other's devices on their network.

Ok cool, but... (3, Insightful)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495769)

Competition is a good thing

However...

While most Verizon Wireless customers prefer the convenience of full service, the company is listening through today's announcement to a small but growing number of customers who want another choice without full service.
Would they mind defining what "without full service" means? Also, how much more are they going to gouge "bring your own" customers? There's always a catch/hook/rub/premium for have it your way.

I never understood why the obsession with mobile companies locked phones/formats? Right, lockin so you can only buy their ringtones and use their premium services. But I worked at Sprint for a couple years and at that time they lost their asses on phone swaps. Wouldn't it be easier if they simply sold service, supported open standards and reduced operating costs by not stocking a giant cache of crappy phones they cover under replacement. That has to chew into those premium service profits really fast.

Offer a solid damn service and let people fight Motorola, Samsung, Sanyo, etc over device issues. It's like expecting the gas station attendant to fix your tranny after he tops you off.

Re:Ok cool, but... (1)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495875)

Would they mind defining what "without full service" means?

Very likely it means that if you call up with a problem and they decide it's your phone and not their network causing the issue, support ends. Just like when you get cable or DSL, they will set-it up to work in their stock config and provide support, but if you change anything, you are on your own.

That is a reasonable response for any business. It just means the handset vendors will have to have a crack support team to support their phones.

Re:Ok cool, but... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495933)

It's like expecting the gas station attendant to fix your tranny after he tops you off.

Come on now, what were you really thinking about?

Re:Ok cool, but... (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496119)

Wouldn't it be easier if they simply sold service, supported open standards and reduced operating costs by not stocking a giant cache of crappy phones they cover under replacement?
No. That comes too close to the competitive landscape that Google and others are trying to create. If cellular providers end up as commodities, they won't be able to earn the huge* profits they currently enjoy, and they'll have to spend more money upgrading their infrastructure. It's the same situation as with ISPs. (Ever notice how both our cellular networks and our broadband are lagging way behind European countries, Korea, and Japan?)

*Huge compared to, eg. Dell, which sells products in the most commoditized high-tech markets.

Re:Ok cool, but... (1)

Corporate Drone (316880) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496313)

Offer a solid damn service and let people fight Motorola, Samsung, Sanyo, etc over device issues. It's like expecting the gas station attendant to fix your tranny after he tops you off.

Right ... the attendant should only have to fix your tranny if s/he is unable to top you and get you off...

Tagged 'itsatrap' and 'itsatrickgetanax' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21495809)

Nuff said.

I don't trust these fuckers any farther than I can spit.

Complete Non Story (2, Insightful)

birdowner (635361) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495859)

While this sounds like a grand announcement, compare this with GSM networks (like T-mobile or AT&T). You can already use any GSM phone, even one that T-mobile does not sell. You don't need their permission, and it doesn't have to be approved in their "state of the art" testing facility. If anything, this news brings them closer to the device independence of GSM, but is still not completely there.

I think we can all agree (5, Funny)

rehtonAesoohC (954490) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495913)

I think we can all agree that this is definitely not Verizon lifting her skirt for us.

This is more like Verizon bringing us to her front doorstep with promises of gratification, only to slap us and call us names for even implying something might happen.

The whore.

Just in time (0)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495925)

After being completely satisfied with Cingular for several years now, AT&T bought them out and thoroughly shafted me. My bill was never over $50, I never went over my minutes, and when AT&T bought them I had a $150 bill the first month, with another $450 added the next! They shut off service, and even with the damned thing shut off they STILL charged another $150, including tax on service I never recieved. They're going to have to sue to get a penny of it.

I've been using a pay as you go phone, and have been looking for a replacement for the theiuving bastards at AT&T.

Verizon has been first on the list for a while for two reasons: I can still use my Razr, which still has most of my numbers in it, and my roommate's boyfriend (ex now I think, I haven't seen her since I dropped her off at work Friday) has Verizon, and his phone is one of the qwerty keyboard phones that doubles as an MP3 player. I drooled when he showed it to me.

The only thing worrying me about Verizon is a slashdot story from a few weeks ago about them cooperating with the NSA. Does the NSA track hookers, I wonder? Quite a few of my close friends are hookers and I'd hate for them to get in trouble. Is prostitution considered terrorism these days? It seems everything else, from drugs to political discourse, is.

But this item is very good news, and puts Verizon up a notch. The other company I've been looking into is US Cellular, which I understand I also can use my Razr with.

-mcgrew

This is what we've had in the UK for years... (2, Insightful)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21495941)

...from most carriers anyway (some like Orange have a fee to get phones on or off their network).

Ie, if you have a GSM or 3G phone and a SIM card then you can just use it in the UK.

You'll have to pay the carrier for the SIM and traffic of course, but from any reasonable device you want.

Rgds

Damon

PS. I think most Europeans, used to being behind on technology, are baffled by the US phone 'notwork'...

Finally! (1)

prxp (1023979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496053)

It seems the Industry is finally realizing that "Open Platforms" are better than closed ones, and that is worthless fighting against this trend. One might thing this move is due to Google's Android, but it's not. It's more like Android is an older sibling.

And God Forbid.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21496221)

..IF YOU HAVE TO PAY THE MICROSOFT OF THE TELECOM INDUSTRY

"Qualcomm - the Microsoft of the phone industry" /.'ers CREED
MICROSOFT=EVIL so therefore Qualcomm = Evil

      You can always count on the dimwits here to rehash the Boogie Men Dujour on a daily basis in regard to other "news"-

George Bush
Microsoft
Republicans
White Republicans
White Christian Republicans
White Evangelical Christian Republicans

      Now add Verizon and Qualcomm to the Slashdoters list above

      YOU DUMBASSES GETTIN THIS YET, YOUR ON A TREADMILL THAT HAS NO PURPOSE BUT TO GO ROUND AND ROUND, LIKE THE WHEELS ON THAT BUS YOU GET CARTED IN ON, THE LITTLE YELLOW ONE.

Oh and I like this form the Moderators Ministry at Slashdot which translates into we dont like what you say and think and isnt it interesting its only when I get close to the man behind the curtain, they pull this one out of which did not stop my last 10 trolls one after another-

From a canned Slashdot response-
Slashdot requires you to wait (until your are in agreement with our politcal bias) between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

It's been 11, (now up to 15, 16, 22) minutes since you last successfully posted a comment (THEY ARE NOW BLOCKING ME)

Chances are, you're behind a firewall or proxy, or clicked the Back button to accidentally reuse a form. Please try again. If the problem persists, and all other options have been tried, contact the site administrator.

Translation- we will just prevent you from posting anything that does not fit our socio-political bent

Sorry but this isn't really new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21496325)

For years we have been using devices on the Verizon 1xRTT network that have not been sold to us by Verizon. Some of these devices have been developed by us in house and others were bought off the shelf from third party vendors. The Multimodem CDMA and the Airlink Pinpoint CDMA are two examples.

None of these devices were submitted to Verizon for testing. Perhaps this will change soon.

CDMA vs GSM (3, Interesting)

chiller2 (35804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21496445)

I think the real story here is that CDMA is loosing market share to GSM. The latter is cheaper and globally widespread so Verizon are trying to bolster CDMA device usage.
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