Open access comes to the forefront

Google started the movement and Verizon Wireless, once a staunch opponent of the concept, is now embracing it. Open access means operators open up their networks to enable any device and application to run on it. Sprint has been touting the concept for its WiMAX network, saying it will let any WiMAX-certified device on the network (no need for Sprint to certify them) and the company envisions embedded WiMAX chips being included in all types of devices--cars, laptops, cameras, etc. The Federal Communications Commission has mandated that a certain portion of the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum have open-access stipulations attached to it.

Yes, open access is coming, but operators will be experimenting with the concept. The model has the opportunity to provide more innovative services, but operators will have to grapple with the end of device subsidies and finding ways to keep customers loyal.