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Cellphones Handhelds Wireless Networking Hardware

Verizon Wireless To Open Network 286

Posted by kdawson
from the bring-your-own dept.
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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Verizon Wireless To Open Network

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  • Google pressure (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It looks like they feel the heat from the big G.
    • by dgatwood (11270)

      Or stopped feeling it from the big "H".... I know my feet are feeling really cold all of a sudden. Apparently it is now endothermic.

      :-D

  • No (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jonesy69 (904924) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:12PM (#21495479) Homepage
    No, the iPhone wont work. Lets just clear that up right now.

    • by geekoid (135745)
      How do you know?

      • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

        by BecomingLumberg (949374) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:28PM (#21495717)
        Because a GSM phone won't work on a CDMA network.
        • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

          by davester666 (731373) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @04:02PM (#21497123) Journal
          It might just be me, but Verizon could totally kick start this by NOT CRIPPLING THE PHONES THEY SELL. Stop removing features the manufacturers already developed, that end-users might actually want and use, just so they have to download a ringtone from Verizon.com...
          • Re:No (Score:4, Informative)

            by Stonent1 (594886) <stonentNO@SPAMstonent.pointclark.net> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @04:51PM (#21497765) Journal
            Verizon's biggest problem is themselves. They have the best coverage in my experience by far, but everything else about them drives customers away. They disable features on the phones, they customize the OS on the phones to ensure Verizon lock-in. They are the cellular version of the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. "What you want extra butter for your bread?! NO SOUP FOR YOU!"

            I've never been to Europe so I don't know how Vodafone treats their customers (Vodafone is part owner of Verizon Wireless) so I don't know who's influencing these decisions.
      • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

        by timbck2 (233967) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <2kcbmit>> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:35PM (#21495817) Homepage
        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?)
        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "(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?)"

          Hmm...well...I wonder if Apple was smart enough to ONLY give AT&T exclusive rights to the GSM iPhone. What if they didn't specify who would get an iPhone using a different system, like CDMA???

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            That would require AT&T to be as stupid as Apple was smart. I doubt they'd leave such a gaping hole in an exclusivity agreement.
      • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DECS (891519) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:45PM (#21495971) Homepage Journal
        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 (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @03:14PM (#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.
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      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
  • by yincrash (854885) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:12PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by geekoid (135745)
      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.

      • by a_nonamiss (743253) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:19PM (#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.
        • by 2PAIRofACES (302747) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:55PM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

            by The_Wilschon (782534)
            Shouldn't steps 1 and 2 be switched?

            Hmmm, step 1, accomplished! Now let's see about step 2... ... .... Crap. I'm not a prostitute. No Profit!!! for me after all.
        • by sm62704 (957197)
          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
          • 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.
            • by Intron (870560)
              It's not psychology. Small companies depend on repeat business and word of mouth. They can't afford to get a reputation of screwing customers. Large companies depend on advertising and just being no worse than the next large company. They can't spend any time on individual customers, just on providing the same quality to everyone, bad or good.

              When my ISP screwed up I called the VP of Operations because I have his cell phone number. That's the advantage of using small businesses.
            • Are you arguing that small business threat you well just because they have to face you? I've built a boutique hosting business based on providing excellent value for a fair price. My partner and I started the company because we wanted to compete on service. Not every business is out to screw the customer.
      • by tobiasly (524456)

        Verizon has been becoming more friendly towards there customers over the last few years.

        Issuing patent-troll litigation to shut down Vonage isn't what I'd consider being customer-friendly.

    • by jtara (133429) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:16PM (#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.

    • I fully expected to see the "haha" tag on this story.

      I'm shocked to not see it.
    • by Isao (153092) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @03:48PM (#21496861)
      What spurred the sudden change of heart?

      Sprint [nwsource.com]. They were the first to lose the class-action lawsuit [sprintlockinglawsuit.com].

  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:12PM (#21495487) Homepage Journal
    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?
    • by kackle (910159) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:27PM (#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...
      • by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @03:43PM (#21496787)
        The 700 MHz spectrum auction is supposed to happen before Jan 28, 2008. Verizon's announcement says the technical specifications will be released in "early 2008". Sounds to me like it's to discourage any further mandates by the FCC on the bidding process, and to provide a disincentive for any other bit players thinking of lining up behind Google. "Oh, there's no need to mandate any more openness requirements, we're already going to do it. See, look at this announcement we made. What? Of course we're going to follow through on it. Trust us." It's pretty pathetic that I'm this cynical of Verizon's motives, but that cynicism comes from 3 years experience as a customer.
    • Bait and Switch (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mpapet (761907) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:52PM (#21496067) Homepage
      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.
    • 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.
    • by imstanny (722685)

      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

      • Try using their HotSpot@Home service, which is just a consumer-friendly way of saying they tunnel your calls over IP. I've been a T-Mobile customer for almost 5 years in Chicago (back when they bought Voicestream) and I absolutely love them (seriously, they've been nothing but good to me). I bought a Blackberry Curve, and when I'm near a Wi-fi access point, the phone tunnels the calls over IP instead of over the GSM network. This has helped me a lot, as my office is in a basement (i.e. no reception), so we
        • I just wanted to add something about HotSpot@Home that I didn't realize until recently--it's an extra $10/month, but all your VOIP calls are unlimited (don't use minutes) however they *will* let you use VOIP on a phone that supports it *without* the extra fee if you don't mind VOIP calls using your minutes as normal. I never go through all of my minutes anyway but still wanted the added VOIP coverage, so I was happy to find out it was available without paying an extra monthly fee.
          • The promotional period was $10/month. It's now $20/month for individuals and $30/month for family plans. Still a deal for unlimited calling anywhere there is WiFi available (including Starbucks and FedexKinkos).
      • by Intron (870560)
        "they refused to help me acquire a new phone when I lost mine" ... unlike every other business which is happy to replace your lost items. I can't tell you how many times Dell has cheerfully replaced my lost laptops and Sears gave me a new pair of Dockers after I spilled paint on mine. Not.

        As for Verizon Wireless, you can buy any cdma phone [vzw.com] and connect it to your account for free via their website. I've done it. They say up front that if you want a deal on a phone, you get it with a new activation or cont
    • 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.

    • by VP (32928)

      What might Verizon have up their sleeve on this one?

      4G. Verizon announced that their choice of 4G technology (the one coming after EVD0 for CDMA-based networks and after WCDMA for GSM-based networks) will be LTE [boygeniusreport.com], which is the same technology [3gpp.org] chosen by the GSM-based 3G networks.

      If the new technology requires the use of SIM cards (like all GSM-compatible standards), this makes it near impossible to close up their network in the same way they have been doing it so far.

  • by Shoeler (180797) * on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:14PM (#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.
    • 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 b
    • 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???

    • So does this mean Duke Nukem is coming soon?

      After all, the past few years we have seen:

      Apple moving Intel
      Internet Explorer actually updated
      Red Sox win the World Series not once but twice
      Apple releasing a phone
      DRM-less music from major label(s) being sold on major internet retailers (iTunes, Amazon, etc.)
      Vista actually being released.

      And now...

      Verizon letting you use "any" phone on its network, running "any" application.

      I'm running out of things to complain about here...work with me people!
    • by rwyoder (759998)

      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.

      And that is why after 5 years of being a loyal Verizon customer, when my old Startac died, I canceled my Verizon account and went to Sprint, who were happy to sell me a fully-functioning Razr for t

  • 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...
  • Any device? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by a_nonamiss (743253) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:16PM (#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...
    • by illumin8 (148082)

      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

      • by Wdomburg (141264)
        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.
      • 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.
      • 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 do
      • 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.

      • 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

    • by appleguru (1030562) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:45PM (#21495967) Homepage Journal
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by moosesocks (264553)
        Translation:
        "Nobody wants to build decent phones for our proprietary network, because we've completely destroyed our reputation among the manufacturers by intentionally crippling their phones."

        Now Verizon wants smaller players to get in on the action, and hopefully fix their reputation by coming up with something innovative. I'd imagine that they're not only jealous of the iPhone, but also the amazing GSM phones that Europe's had for quite some time now. Let's face it -- the current selection of CDMA ph
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      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 so
    • by VeriTea (795384)
      Not necessarily. If the device on the other end doesn't perform as well as you planned when you designed the network you end up with unhappy customers who blame the network, not their phone. Verizon has always had the most strict standards when it came to approving devices. Yes, some of the reason is because they tried to lock them down, but mostly because they only allowed devices that were guaranteed to make the network look good. Not every phone performs the same - anyone who has ever put them on a t
  • by lstellar (1047264) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:17PM (#21495551) Homepage
    ...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.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by wowbagger (69688) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:17PM (#21495559) Homepage Journal
    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.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by LunaticTippy (872397) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:30PM (#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.
      • 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.
        • 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.
          • by bernywork (57298) *
            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.

      • 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 lo
        • by adolf (21054)
          It's not as bad as you think.

          I've made v.32bis (~14.4kbps) calls using a CDMA phone, and it worked fine. I've even sent faxes with a cell phone (to a Vonage-connected fax machine, no less), which also worked fine. It's been possible to do this stuff for ages.

          Here's the trick: There isn't any voice compression involved.

          All one needs to do is connect a serial (or USB, depending on phone) cable to the telephone, and treat the device like a regular old analog modem. ATDT[insert number here], and things go o
        • by wed128 (722152)
          What do you mean you connected with your voice...you chirped into a handset? that's amazing!
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Yes it is. I used to work with modems extensively. I had to simulate line noise and what not to test the reliability of our custom x/z modem implementations. I spent a lot of time talking into the the line on a connected phone. I tried connecting many many times, it only happened once that actually connected. Still, one of my proudest accomplishments.
      • Re:Peachy.... (Score:4, Informative)

        by wowbagger (69688) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:41PM (#21495911) Homepage Journal
        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..

        • by vux984 (928602)
          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 h
        • 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.
      • This is called CSD - Circut-switched data. Basically, voice is digitized and sent as data. If you use the phone as a modem (a regular modem), the computer sends the phone binary, and the phone makes a phone call. Without the DAC-ADC step, which would make it even more useless than this is.

        You don't do as well as you do even over copper, so you're better off with packet-switching anyway.

        It's no different than a phone call, and only uses up minutes. It just skips the DAC-ADC step. AT&T actually allo
    • This isn't Verizon's fault; it's technically not possible to call analog modems over cellular phones, on any carrier.
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      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.
  • 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.
    • by jspayne (98716)
      Nope. iPhone is currently a GSM phone - a fundamentally different and incompatible technology.
    • by Wdomburg (141264)
      Erm, that's an unlikely motivation considering the iPhone wouldn't work on their network (GSM device, CDMA network).
  • Ok cool, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aztektum (170569) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:31PM (#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.
    • 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.
    • 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 commodit

    • 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...

  • by rehtonAesoohC (954490) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:41PM (#21495913) Journal
    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.
  • by DamonHD (794830) <d@hd.org> on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @02:42PM (#21495941) Homepage
    ...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'...
    • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @03:34PM (#21496661)

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


      This is exactly the way it works in the US with AT&T and T-Mobile, the two national GSM carriers in the US. AT&T offers UMTS (GSM 3G) and HSDPA, too (T-Mobile is waiting for the spectrum they purchased to become available).

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


      I'm not sure I'd describe Europe as 'behind on technology', but I would recommend that they learn more about the mobile phone situation in the US before judging. There are five national mobile phone networks, using three different technologies (GSM/UMTS, IDEN, CDMA2000) on four different bands (850/1900/1700/FMR). That's not even considering the hundreds of local and regional players, many of whom have more subscribers than major European carriers.

      This seems typical of the "standard European comment about US mobile phone networks". The US has over 100 million GSM subscribers. You could at least bother to scan the Wikipedia article about Verizon Wireless before talking about how "poor" our mobile service is here. Yes, things are billed differently here (we pay for incoming calls but typically pay less per minute). Some things are better (unlimited EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA for $20/mo, "free" nights/weekends/in-network calling), some things are worse ($0.15 per SMS - send AND receive). But we're not some kind of mobile backwater. Evil providers notwithstanding.
      • by DamonHD (794830)
        Well, I'm glad if I'm wrong!

        Note, though, that the places I can use my (UK-purchased) SIM are of course much wider than just the UK, and thanks to a bit of regulator intervention the whole EU market is starting to get sane... And indeed a customer of (say) Vodafone can get some reasonable deals in most Vodafone territories outside the EU too, without much/any specific prior arrangement, just turning up and roaming.

        Note that the UK alone musters T-mobile, Orange, Vodafone, O2 and 3 as real physical national
  • I'll get an axe.
  • CDMA vs GSM (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chiller2 (35804) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @03:18PM (#21496445) Homepage
    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.
  • by Alcoholic Dali (1024937) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @03:29PM (#21496599)
    Verizon is opening it's network up as a response to the likely chance that Google is going to win the FCC run auction for the highly discussed 700MHz spectrum.

    Google is going to open up that spectrum and forcibly alter how the cell phone industry works in the United States. Verizon, not wanting to be outdone, is sort of pre-empting this by saying they will now open up their own network.

    The cell phone industry in this country is going to get shaken real soon, and it's going to be nothing short of awesome.
  • Wow, it's almost like it was for a decade on GSM networks all over the world?!? Except that no one needs acceptance tests from local operator, if their device complies with GSM standards.

    That's what I call progress, ten years in the making.

    Robert
  • by DTemp (1086779) on Tuesday November 27, 2007 @03:55PM (#21497017)
    Based on this article over at ars [arstechnica.com], it seems like Google had a big part in this. Pushing for open access rules in the FCC frequency auction (that Verizon originally SUED OVER but relented), and creating the Android platform that Verizon KNEW it had to somehow get a piece of, after viewing AT&T laughing all the way to the bank with the iPhone deal... yeah I think this wouldn't be happening without Google.

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