MetroPCS has opened their network, allowing new customers to bring their own compatible CDMA device. MetroFlash, as it’s branded, removes the requirement of a new handset purchase for new MetroPCS customers. It follows a trend of “openness” now being experimented within the wireless industry. Both Verizon Wireless and AT&T have made similar claims for openness. It’s open for debate as to how all of these carriers actually define open. Some would argue these claims are more of a marketing ploy than a true open strategy. Google has had significant influence on the openness issue, both through their Android initiative, and through their lobbying efforts surrounding the recent 700 MHz auction. As the mobile web experience matures, openness will become more paramount. Consumers will want to connect to the mobile web, regardless of the device they happen to be using at any given time. These initial open initiatives are probably a leading indicator of the future of wireless. Wireless carriers will need a well defined “open” strategy to remain competitive in the wireless web world. It’s not going to happen overnight, but the genie may be working her way towards the bottle opening on this one.
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