AT&T Sort Of Opens Wireless Access

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Any phone, any application, that’s the mantra of AT&T’s wireless business, but it isn’t any different than what has always been available to AT&T customers.

AT&T Sort Of Opens Wireless Access
AT&T Sort Of Opens Wireless Access

When the FCC adopted two of the four conditions of openness Google asked for with regards to the upcoming 700MHz wireless spectrum auction, open applications and open devices, we called those the less important ones out of the group.

Proof of that came from USA Today, citing AT&T wireless business CEO Ralph de la Vega on the topic:

“You can use any handset on our network you want. We don’t prohibit it, or even police it.”

Don’t look for that openness to extend to the iPhone, Apple’s hot gadget exclusively licensed to AT&T. “The iPhone is a very special, innovative case,” de la Vega said in the report.

Engadget’s Ryan Block isn’t impressed with de la Vega’s openness:

Yes, you can take your AT&T SIM, put it in an unlocked device, and run it on their network without much hassle — but that doesn’t make AT&T any more “open” than the final-say testing facility Verizon intends to use in “openly” making approvals (and disapprovals) of devices and software.

The real openness will come when someone, be it Google or an existing wireless company, implements the open networks and services Google asked for as auction conditions but could not convince the FCC to adopt. Swapping a SIM card isn’t the same thing.

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AT&T Sort Of Opens Wireless Access
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