Archive for the ‘Telecommunications’ category

Verizon’s “Berlin Wall Moment”

11-28-07

In what was regarded as a surprise move, Verizon announced Tuesday it would give consumers more choice in what phones they can use on its network, perhaps hastening the day when Americans can buy the mobile device they want, then choose a carrier instead of having it chosen for them.

In its press release, Verizon said the “new choice” would not be available until the end of 2008, and described the process between now and then:

In early 2008, the company will publish the technical standards the development community will need to design products to interface with the Verizon Wireless network. Any device that meets the minimum technical standard will be activated on the network. Devices will be tested and approved in a $20 million state-of-the-art testing lab which received an additional investment this year to gear up for the anticipated new demand. Any application the customer chooses will be allowed on these devices.

The news has got everyone thinking about two companies not mentioned in the press release, Apple and Google. Apple, because the iPhone is such a sexy product but its appeal is weighed down by the required two-year AT&T/Cingular contract that comes with it; and Google because of its recent announcement of plans to create an open platform for a Linux phone that can run Google applications.

The commentary on Verizon’s move comes in two flavors: Laudatory, and intrigued conjecture. If anyone really doesn’t like it, they’re keeping it to themselves. Here are lots of samples:

“We’re seeing a sea change here. If you go back a year ago, there was absolutely no sign anyone was interested in pushing opening wireless networks,” said Harold Feld, senior vice president of the Media Access Project, a nonprofit telecommunications law firm. “This is like a Berlin Wall moment, where the pressure is too much for these guys.” (SF Chronicle)

Atlantic Monthly blogger Megan McArdle, a libertarian-leaning economist, agrees: (more…)

A Monday Communiqué from Dolan Media

11-05-07

Do college students like to text-message? Uh, yeah. So officials at the University of Maryland and other colleges in the state can’t figure out why so few have signed up for an emergency-alert program instituted after the shootings at Virginia Tech.

According to the Daily Record, one law enforcement official thinks students are wary of a scam:

Some students, faculty and staff might be concerned about the cost of text messages, (Robert M. Rowan of the University of Maryland) theorized. Some mobile phone or wireless service providers charge mobile users per message.

And many probably are concerned they’ll be inundated with junk messages, said Courtney Jolley, a spokeswoman at Loyola College in Maryland, where 1,400 have signed up for the text message service that began over the summer.

“We’ve made it very clear to them this is not designed for us to be able to send any announcement we want,” Jolley said. “It’s just an extra point of contact in truly grave emergency situations.”

The director of communications at the U’s College Park campus found some success by treating the emergency text program as a marketing problem.

“What we realized was we needed to do a broad-based awareness [campaign] of our various emergency notifications,” he said.

The school held a campus-wide Emergency Awareness Week last month, including the distribution of educational materials about the service and booths set up throughout campus where students could learn about the service and register on the spot.

Towson, like many of the schools, made the text message alert system part of its orientation for new students over the summer, Herring said. It also has taken out ads in its school paper, and is planning to set up an informational table at the student union.

….Up the Atlantic coast, Long Island Business News blogger Henry Powderly II continues his illustrated winery crawl with a visit to Corey Creek Vineyards. Bet you didn’t know Long Island was a wine region. (more…)