Who'd have thought the end of 2007 would see US cellphone carrier heavyweights duking it out with PR one-upsmanship to be... open? Seriously, someone pinch us, it's as amazing as it is farcical. So the latest development in big network "openness" has USA Today running off in the opposite direction with AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega's comments that "You can use any handset on our network you want... We don't prohibit it, or even police it. ... We are the most open wireless company in the industry." We think the headline "AT&T flings cellphone network wide open" kind of says it all.
The reality of the situation? Nothing has changed between yesterday and today, and, as de la Vega told us a couple of weeks ago, AT&T customers can continue expect the status quo from the nation's largest carrier in terms of their level of openness and flexibility. Granted, it's one thing for Verizon to say they're going wide open (especially being ridiculously closed CDMA carrier they are), but it's quite another for AT&T to lay claims as though it's somehow more open than any other carrier in the world when that argument comes as an extension of its core network technology. Yes, you can take your AT&T SIM, put it in an unlocked device, and run it on their network without much hassle -- but that doesn't make AT&T any more "open" than the final-say testing facility Verizon intends to use in "openly" making approvals (and disapprovals) of devices and software.