Verizon and Google

It was pointed out to me today that, notwithstanding all the good-vibes PR over the last few days, (1) Verizon will still be selling crippled-but-subsidized phones in its retail outlets (so who will choose an open device?) and (2) Verizon will still be able to charge content providers/application providers differential fees for use of its wireless network. Given these points, it’s hard to get too excited about the Verizon announcement, which was really designed as…

a signal to Google: “Don’t bother with getting involved in the 700 MHz auction – we’re planning to be open enough to serve your purposes.”

But Google is signaling back: “Thanks for the nice message, and good job with the PR, but we’re still planning to bid in the auction for the C Block.”

(Verizon’s move is also a signal to Sprint customers: “You can use your Sprint CDMA phones on our network! Come on over!”)

There is great interest in telecom land in Google’s potential bid. All of this pushing for openness, all of these actions by a diffuse group of public advocates, companies, and ordinary people – it seems to have resulted in something that is (initially, at least) good.

One thought on “Verizon and Google

  1. I suspect many people will buy unsubsidized but flexible “handsets” if VZ is genuinely open.

    Right now, handsets are phones with stuff stuck on them. From an engineering perspective, however, this is stupid. As the iPhone demonstrates, there is no real difference between a device like an iPod and a phone except the voice application and the wireless contract.

    I agree that Google would be mad to trust Verizon to keep things “open,” which is why I strongly disagree with the analysts that keep saying Google will bid to lose.

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