Verizon, AT&T; flesh out ‘openness’

With Sprint and T-Mobile both members of Google’s Open Handset Alliance, the other two tier one U.S. carriers, Verizon and AT&T, have been working hard to prove that they can be open too. As you’ll recall, Verizon has announced plans to open its network to unlocked devices this year and AT&T has claimed that it was open all along. While announcements are all well and good, it sure would be nice to see some action behind those initiatives, eh?

To that end, Verizon has announced the Open Development Conference–a two day event in New York City that’s aimed at introducing developers to Verizon’s Open Development initiative. “This initial conference is for developers of devices – because before consumers can have open access, you have to have open development,” Verizon VP Anthony A. Lewis said at a New America Foundation event in Washington D.C. today. “In hosting this conference, our aim is to jump start the development community by sharing information needed to develop devices for our network that achieve our network performance goals while making it easy for them to deliver devices.”

Meanwhile, AT&T has quietly unveiled a SIM card-only plan that will allow consumers to use an AT&T plan with an unlocked GSM handset. Customers can purchase a SIM card from AT&T for $5, which can then be used with any AT&T voice/data plan. Though initial reports stated that SIM-only customers would have to sign a 2-year contract like everyone else, it now appears that the SIM-only plan is contract-free.

For more on Verizon and AT&T’s open initiatives:
– see this Verizon press release
– and this Engadget article on AT&T’s SIM-only plan

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