Verizon Wireless today informed MVNO operators like Page Plus Cellular that it would no longer block the activation of iPhone devices from their networks.
PhoneNews.com was the first major member of the mobile media to expose Verizon and Apple’s anti-competitive business practices in blocking iPhone from activation on Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs). Currently H2O Wireless and Page Plus Cellular have enacted support for Verizon’s Open Network protocol, which allows any foreign CDMA device to be activated on their services.
The limitations to this have been very few; the only two main restrictions are that the device cannot be a Verizon prepaid phone which is still subsidized by Verizon, and that the MVNO cannot activate BlacKBerry device without first signing their own BIS license agreement with Research in Motion.
When iPhone 4 launched, Verizon blocked the activation of iPhone on their virtual and prepaid networks. The carrier did not explain, and has yet to comment on why they did this. Verizon reported to the FCC that the devices that they sell, are sold unlocked, with no carrier subsidy locks.
Verizon MVNOs often undercut their parent network’s plans. Page Plus cellular offers 1,200 minutes per month, with 1,200 text messages for $29.99 per month on prepaid. Later this month, the operator will provide unlimited voice and text, with 300 MB of data per month on prepaid for $55/month. Verizon MVNO providers typically urge customers to use Wi-Fi as opposed to large amounts of data, due to the high cost that Verizon sets on wholesale data.
PhoneNews.com recently re-highlighted the arbitrary and antitrust-grade blocking of iPhone 4 from virtual networks in an in-depth article on iPhone 4S’s built-in support for both CDMA and GSM.
We’d like to thank the readers and regulators that tune into PhoneNews.com, as the title of this article says, we exposed it, but you made the change happen… by staying informed.
Update: We have re-confirmed the news in this article, and followed up with additional steps in a new article.