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Verizon opens ups to any device, any app.

US mobile operator Verizon Wireless said Tuesday that it will allow customers to use any wireless device, software and applications, even those not offered by the company itself, on its network by the end of 2008.

Early next year, Verizon said it will publish the technical standards developers will need to design products to interface with the Verizon network. Any device that meets the minimum technical standard will be activated on the network.

All devices will be tested and approved in a $20m state of the art testing lab, which received an additional investment this year to gear up for the anticipated new demand.

Any application the customer chooses will be allowed to run on these devices.

Lowell McAdam, Verizon Wireless’ president and chief executive officer, said that the company will continue to provide a ‘full service’ offering through its retail channels, where it will continue to bundle devices and applications.

Today’s announcement is directed at a “small but growing number of customers who want another choice without full service,” said McAdam.

“This is a transformation point in the 20-year history of mass market wireless devices – one which we believe will set the table for the next level of innovation and growth,” said McAdam. “Verizon Wireless is not changing our successful retail model, but rather adding an additional retail option for customers looking for a different wireless experience.”

The move comes ahead of the implementation of an open access network model in the US, which will accompany the auction of 700MHz spectrum in January.

The open access conditions of the auction mean that companies acquiring the spectrum will have to let customers use any device of their choice on the network, and download and access any application, provided they meet certain requirements.

Amusingly, Verizon was the carrier made very unhappy by the open access provisions, and sued the Commission over rules it believed to be “arbitrary and capricious, unsupported by substantial evidence and otherwise contrary to law.”

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