Verizon Works to Let Other Devices on Network

Verizon met with electronics makers to lay out guidelines to allow any company to sell phones for its network.
Verizon met with electronics makers to lay out guidelines to allow any company to sell phones for its network. (By Timothy Fadek -- Bloomberg News)

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By Crayton Harrison
Bloomberg News
Thursday, March 20, 2008

Verizon Wireless may start approving new gadgets usable on its network as early as June.

While some rivals limit network access to a handful of device makers, Verizon is allowing any company to sell phones that work on its network. Verizon, which met with electronics makers yesterday to lay out guidelines, said testing will start in mid-May. If the products work, they will be certified to sell by June.

Verizon announced plans to open its network in November, becoming the first U.S. wireless carrier to promote less-restricted access. The decision will allow customers to choose from a wider variety of phones, which may help Verizon hang on to subscriber gains as industry-wide growth slows.

"The next wave of growth will come from a whole new generation of devices," Ivan G. Seidenberg, chief executive of Verizon Wireless's co-parent Verizon Communications, said in a speech to the developers in New York. "Our goal is to make our network the on-ramp for the next phase of wireless innovation."

About 80 percent of the U.S. population has a mobile phone, and Verizon expects subscribers to start buying multiple devices with mobile connections, such as home appliances and cars that can access the Internet, Verizon Wireless chief executive Lowell C. McAdam said.

AT&T, the nation's largest carrier, lets customers use phones that aren't designated for its network as long as the handsets use compatible technology and the customer buys an AT&T wireless card. The company started a Web site this week so customers can order the cards more easily.

Sprint Nextel, Alltel and other carriers haven't imitated Verizon's decision to release technical specifications and permit manufacturers to market handsets without selling them through its stores.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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