Verizon to announce specs for open network

Verizon Wireless will release Version 1.0 of the technical specifications for devices to use on its “Any Device, Any App” service at its developer conference on March 19.

The carrier plans to offer a “network-only” service later this year that will let subscribers reach the Verizon network via any device that meets a basic set of requirements. The offering will be a departure from traditional cellular services in the U.S., in which carriers sell all the handsets to be used on their networks and deliver their own sets of applications. Verizon’s data network, based on EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) technology, reaches 240 million people and offers average download speeds between 600K bps (bits per second) and 1.4M bps. Upload speeds average between 500K bps and 800K bps, according to Verizon.

The “network-only” plan, announced late last year, was widely seen as preparation for the auction of prized 700MHz radio spectrum by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that began Jan. 23. The auction rules require part of the spectrum to be open to any device and any application. Google and other companies and groups have argued for greater openness in mobile communications. Both Verizon and Google were approved to participate in the auction, but the FCC hasn’t disclosed who is actually bidding in the ongoing sale.

At its conference, set for March 19-20 in New York, Verizon will introduce Version 1.0 of the technical specifications for devices to be used with the open service, the company said Tuesday. The meeting will focus on how manufacturers and designers can create devices under Verizon’s Open Development Initiative. Verizon said it wants to streamline the introduction of new devices while preserving optimal performance on the network. The specifications may change based on input from participants, but Version 1.0 will give developers a foundation to start working on devices immediately, Verizon said.

An early version of Google’s Android mobile software platform is already in developers’ hands, and Apple has said it would introduce this month a software development kit for third parties to write applications for the iPhone.

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