The Internet is going mobile. ‚Big news, right? Well, with the open-access provisions attached to the auction of the 700 MHz spectrum, the continued success of open-source public VoIP applications, and open platforms such as Android and OpenMoko, things are really accelerating.
The auction of the 700 MHz spectrum comes with the requirement that the winning bidder open its network to devices and applications from any provider. Verizon Wireless has already committed to allow any approved device and application to operate on its network, and has four years to reach 40% of its user population in this regard. The word “approved” here, means devices that Verizon tests and certifies to operate on its network.
This ability to load any application you’d like on your mobile device will surely please enterprise Directors charged with delivering mobile access to back-office ERP applications. This is great news to many, but this also will complicate the contractual relationship between the provider and the Customer. One sensitive area of risk in this regard is the notion of Privacy.
Be aware (or beware) of new clauses that may appear in your mobile device service contracts. Carriers will be looking for ways to take advantage of revenue opportunities, one of which will be the sharing of subscriber information with 3rd parties who will want to take advantage of the open-networks’ ability to push targeted advertising. Prepare to take advantage of section 222 of the Federal Communications Act. This Act gives the end user the right to prohibit sharing of your personal information.
Regardless of your perspective (whether you’re one who is on the delivering or receiving end of unsolicited messages) regarding end-user personal information, you will need to be mindful of the array of privacy and Acceptable Use Policy issues surrounding mobile devices in this new era of open networks.