Verizon opens network to other phones

Verizon Wireless plans to open its network to devices other than the ones hand-picked by the company, a move that could expand the features available on mobile phones and give the second-largest US wireless carrier a response to a phone software project led by Google, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the decision  means that customers would be able to buy devices of their own choosing and run them on Verizon's network. Traditionally, wireless providers like Verizon let customers pick only carrier-approved devices, with carrier-approved software features, the report said.

The model has some benefits for consumers, because many of the available phones are subsidized by the wireless provider.

That means devices that would otherwise cost hundreds of dollars are available for under $100 or even for free, the report said.

Verizon's announcement indicated it was willing to try out the idea that customers want more flexibility in what they can do with their phones, even though it could force the carrier to make do with being a basic provider of wireless access rather than a value-added content provider as well, the report said.