Kamis, 17 April 2008

WASHINGTON - Verizon Wireless picked up coveted wireless airwaves at a recent auction held by the Federal Communications Commission, which imposed certain consumer-friendly provisions on how that network can be used and what it will it eventually look like.

The open-access rules don't exactly guarantee open access to anyone with a phone, so here a few questions consumers might have about what the network does mean to them.

Q. Why the hubbub over an open-access wireless network?

A. Public interest groups and some companies say a true open wireless network would essentially resemble the Internet. Any device, application or service can be used on the network without any company restricting access. Theoretically, there would be greater competition and innovation.

Q. Did the government sell some wireless airwaves with open-access conditions?

A. Yes, there are some conditions on about a third of spectrum that Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC, recently won. In this case, any device and application can run on the network as long as certain, as-yet undetermined specifications are met and the network isn't harmed. Another condition requiring the winner to lease airwaves to other providers who can provide high-speed Internet service was not included.

Q. Why are these airwaves so valuable?

A. These airwaves are located in the 700 MHz spectrum and are especially coveted because they can travel long distances and penetrate walls. The spectrum is being freed as part of the switch to digital television in February 2009.

Q. When will this network be built?

A. Most analysts and other experts believe consumers will see an open access network in two years in some major cities although they said it's unclear how long it would take to expand it -- possibly up to 10 years.

Q. If I have a Sprint Nextel Corp. or AT&T phone now will I be able to use it on Verizon's new open network?

A. No. The phones run on different technology platforms in the United States.

Q. Will Apple Inc.'s iPhone work on this network?

A. The iPhone only works on AT&T's network.

Q. If I'm already a Verizon Wireless subscriber, will the company allow me to switch to the open network?

A. That's a business decision for Verizon Wireless.

Q. How much will it cost to get on the network?

A. That's another business decision for Verizon Wireless.


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