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NetworkWorld.com - In another sign that Verizon Wireless is moving away from its reputation as a champion of closed networks, CEO Lowell McAdam said this week that his company would be supporting Google’s Android open-access mobile platform initiative.
"We’re planning on using Android,” McAdam told Business Week in a interview. “Android is an enabler of what we do.”
McAdam’s announcement is significant as it leaves AT&T as the last remaining major wireless carrier in the United States to not publicly endorse Google’s Android initiative. Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile had both come out in favor of the platform when they joined the Open Handset Alliance, a multinational group with over 30 members dedicated to promoting Android, last month. After Google made its Android announcement, Verizon officials wouldn’t commit to saying that they’d support devices running the Android platform. They did say, however, that they “welcome the support of Google, handset makers and others for our goal of providing more open development of applications on mobile handsets.”
Weeks later, Verizon Wireless announced that they had decided to give customers the option of connecting to its network through outside devices. Previously, Verizon had been a consistent opponent of open-access rules for carriers and had even tried suing the FCC because of the open-access requirements the commission had placed upon portions of the upcoming 700 MHz bandwidth auction.
McAdam told Business Week that he first came to appreciate the value of open networks while spending time in Europe and Asia during the 1990s. During that time, he said, he was impressed by the mobile phone “free-for-all” that allowed customers to switch seamlessly between carriers without purchasing new devices.