All of a sudden Verizon Wireless is acting like an aggressive startup rather than the incumbent behemoth. In the course of two weeks, we've seen the operator announce its intentions to open up its network, move to Long Term Evolution (LTE) as its 4G technology of choice and now embrace Google's Android platform, the search engine's new operating system for mobile devices, according to an article in BusinessWeek.
While skepticism abounds over the motive of these announcements--with pundits believing Verizon made these moves to placate Google and keep it from bidding in the 700 MHz auction--CEO Lowell McAdam lays out a pretty compelling story that shows he had been pondering the idea of open access for some time. McAdam, who was newly installed as CEO last winter after Denny Strigl moved into Verizon Communications as COO, says he carried around a crumpled piece of paper outlining what open access would mean to Verizon Wireless, according to the BusinessWeek article.
Verizon's move is actually a smart one. Business will go on as usual because customers will still be attracted to the subsidized device model and vendors will still want to work with Verizon to get a spot on its retail shelves. Meanwhile, handset vendors such as Nokia are trying to build their own brand and services to money from more than just handset sales. it will straddle the fence by continuing to work with Verizon but also branch out on its own. Nokia, one of the world's most well-known brands, has been chomping at the bit to offer services directly to the consumer. If it's willing to bear that marketing cost, all the better for Verizon.
And Verizon's move just put a lot of pressure on the WiMAX world. The whole idea around Sprint's WiMAX deployment is to have a number of consumer electronic devices ranging from cameras to ultra mobile computers connecting to the network. But we haven't seen the concept catch on with the real mass market consumer electronic device makers yet, such as the Nintendos and Sonys. In comes LTE and Verizon along with its massive partner Vodafone, and all of a sudden the prospects look better for embedding LTE chips in devices, especially with Sprint in a holding pattern on the future of its WiMAX network.
My how the market can change in a matter of weeks.--Lynnette