2007 is quickly winding down and its time to start looking ahead to the new year. So far, location-based services and GPS look to be the big trends for 2008. To get a broader perspective, I sat down with noted technologist and trend prognosticator Mark Anderson of The Strategic News Service to get a sneak peak at what the new year promises for wireless.Over The Air (OTA): Hello, Mark, welcome to Take 5 on Over The Air. Does Verizon Wireless' announcement this week mean that the walled garden of the wireless world is finally crumbling?
Mark Anderson (MA): Yes, the Box Guys, representing Net Neutrality, are going to prevail over the old monopoly Pipes Guys and their walled gardens.
OTA: How open do you think Verizon Wireless' new policy will be? Will we see tiered pricing, with customers who go through Verizon paying less than those who select unlocked devices?
MA: It may occur in stages. Verizon should use bundling to keep a la carte prices higher than bundled prices. "Customer device" pricing should be lower than noncustomer device pricing, but all of this will shift again and again over the next couple of years, as everyone scrambles for a new business model in wireless.
OTA: Now that Verizon has made this announcement, do you think it will back Google's Android?
MA: Absolutely -- if it passes their certification requirements. The technical side of this decision has not been released.
OTA: Is this good news for consumers? What about the enterprise?
MA: This is fantastic news for consumers, for device makers, for service providers, for the enterprise, for software and content vendors.
OTA: Can we expect the other major U.S. carriers -- AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Alltel -- to follow suit?
MA: Yes. I expect that ATT's deal with Apple helped to set this off. Now, from Verizon's perspective, the iPhone could potentially be used on its network, regardless of the AT&T contract. You can tell this is heading France's way of putting the customer, and not the monopolist, first.
OTA: Finally, the stuff we've been waiting for. What will 2008 hold in store for the mobile market? Will this move to openness lead to more growth?
MA: Freedom of choice for customers always leads to growth, as long as there are strong technical standards to build upon. This will be the case, I think, in wireless, although it runs against every base pair of DNA in their managements' chromosomes.