Verizon Wireless still leads Sprint and AT&T with the largest 3G network in the U.S...allowing high speed internet connectivity in at least 80% of the country.  Up until today Verizon has been very protective of what content can be transmitted on its network and what devices can be connected. Verizon Wireless strategy was to own the content with services like VCast.  But this morning all that changed as the company
announced that it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company. Verizon Wireless plans to have this new choice available to customers throughout the country by the end of 2008. 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.

There is a great background piece by
Tom Krazit titled Verizon Opening Door to Mobile Future, available here on CNET

...and...another great article on this subject by verteran reporter Om Malik here....

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