Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Open US Mobile Market

The biggest disappointments this year was not that England didn’t make the soccer European Finals or that they didn’t win the rugby World Cup, it was that Apple decided to launch the iPhone in the US with ATandT and in the UK with O2. Many were put off by the hassle of changing networks, or having to find a man who could make it happen but in spite of this the launch was a huge success and set the design bar for all to follow.

It appears that Apple wanted to break the carriers’ stranglehold on handsets, so that Apple could sell iPhones on any network. Verizon has now announced that next year it would be allowing any phone and any application on any phone, to be used on its network. This legitimately will start to open up iPhones to all.

The question now is whether Apple is already on a solution so the phone will work seamlessly on the different Verizon CDMA network. A mere five months after the launch of the iPhone changes are happening and those subsidised handsets are looking increasingly venerable and the US market starting to resemble those in Europe and Asia, where a carrier’s customers can use any compatible phone and take their phones with them when they switch companies.

Next we must watch Google both in terms of the open software it aims to push at the market and of course its own gPhone. If Verizon’s effort is successful, then content creators, software developers and device makers, who have been restricted under the control of the wireless companies, will have fresh opportunities.