Verizon has been a juggernaut in the wireless carrier world for several years, this was even further amplified when they launched their nationwide LTE network in 2010.
Verizon almost had a monopolistic advantage (especially in rural areas) when they initially launched their LTE network. This was because of Verizon’s aggressive spectrum acquisition tactics to secure the building blocks for a robust nationwide LTE network.
In 2008, Verizon purchased one of the key assets to their LTE network deployment: licenses in the 700MHz spectrum.
Open Access Rules
Many of us remember, when carriers controlled everything about your phone; carriers even controlled what phones you could use with their network. You didn’t buy your Motorola Razr from Motorola, like you might buy an iPhone from Apple today. You bought the specific ‘carrier version’ of the Motorola Razr from that carrier directly, and the carriers employed tactics to ensure you couldn’t easily switch carriers with the same phone.
Along with purchasing devices, carriers controlled many of the applications on the phones that were either preloaded, or accessible from their own carrier-like ‘App Store’.
Google was key in developing the ‘open access rules’ that were applied in tandem with the FCC leasing the 700MHz spectrum. In a nutshell, those rules allowed for the foundation of devices and carrier networks that we use today.
What are the Open Access Rules: You can use devices and applications of your choosing without the carrier limiting what applications or devices you use
Verizon did not have to agree to lease that spectrum, but they did and as long as they operate on it they are subject to the conditions of the spectrum.
Because of these rules, it allowed device makers to diversify the cellular device market with hundreds of new phones, helped push for non-carrier-controlled app stores, and even changed how cellular contracts worked and how cellular devices were bought
The internet doesn’t forget and Verizon will be remembered saying “of course we will follow those rules”
Verizon accepted the rules in exchange for having some of the most crucial spectrum necessary for their LTE network.
Updates over the Years
In 2007 Verizon sued, but then dropped their suit to challenge to the rules
In 2012 Verizon lost a case, paid a $1M fine, and was required to implement an employee training program to better follow the C block rules
In 2012 in regards to ‘SIM swapping’ (device of your choice) Verizon Stated: “The SIM holds the detail of your data plan. If you move it to another device, you will be charged for the service you use. If you have an unlimited SIM and it fits another device, you can use it and you will pay for the service plan associated with the SIM.”
In 2019 the FCC allowed for a temporary 60 day device lock for devices sold by Verizon (for ‘fraud prevention’ only)