Thursday, May 08, 2008

Technology Review: Joint Sprint, Clearwire network could boost consumer power

"You say you want a revolution..."   Okay, maybe you didn't, but Google and other investors in this initiative do.

Sprint has indicated the new network will be run on an ''open access'' basis, where anyone with a compatible device can connect it.

If everything works well, this could lead to a proliferation of cell phones, Web tablets, computers, TV set-top boxes, GPS devices and gadgets we haven't even dreamt of. Manufacturers will be free to make gadgets that can ride on the network, without striking a deal with the carrier first.

Rather than buying a cell phone with a monthly minute plan, you could be buying a device that gives you unlimited use of voice-over-Internet services like eBay Inc.'s Skype.

''That's the real power of having this open access -- it unleashes innovation,'' said Bob Williams, who tracks telecommunications for the Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports.

Technology Review: Joint Sprint, Clearwire network could boost consumer power

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