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Thread: Verizon is violating the 700 Mhz open platform restrictions already

  1. #1
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    Verizon is violating the 700 Mhz open platform restrictions already

    First, here is a discussion of the restrictions:

    http://www.bingham.com/Media.aspx?MediaID=5492

    Of note, Verizon is not allowed to:

    • Block, degrade, or interfere with the ability of end users to download and utilize applications of their choosing on the licensee’s Block C network, subject to reasonable network management. Wireless service providers subject to this requirement will not be allowed to disable features or functionality in handsets where such action is not related to reasonable network management and protection, or compliance with applicable regulatory requirements. For example, providers may not “lock” handsets to prevent their transfer from one system to another.
    • Block Wi-Fi access, MP3 playback ringtone capability, or other services that compete with wireless service providers’ own offerings.
    • Exclude applications or devices solely on the basis that such applications or devices would unreasonably increase bandwidth demands.
    • Impose any additional discriminatory charges (one-time or recurring) or conditions on customers who seek to use devices or applications outside of those provided by the licensee.
    • Deny access to a customer’s device solely because that device makes use of other wireless spectrum bands, such as cellular or PCS spectrum.


    Bolded parts are relevant to the following.

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/02/c...n-on-our-mobil

    Apparently, Verizon is interfering with customers' ability to download tethering apps onto a phone. This is in plain violation of the above rules. Here, Verizon cannot claim "reasonable network management", because prohibiting 3rd party solutions for a free service has been held as unreasonable. They can throttle traffic if the tower is busy or switch to metered billing, but they cannot block it.

    I don't use a VZW LTE phone, but for those of you do, you might want to file an FCC complaint--especially while you have unlimited data plans.

    Verizon's 4G network.

    I live in California, not New York. I actually dislike New York.

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    Um, 1) Verizon LTE phones get free tethering til the 15th anyway and more importantly
    2) All of those wifi/usb tether apps, they support 3g, I'm not sure if they support 4g, but so long as they support 3g which verizon does have the right to control, can't verizon block the app simply based on that? Now if there was a 4g LTE only app out there that had no 3g support I imagine that wouldn't be allowed to be blocked. So basically verizon isn't doing anything wrong YET. Let's wait a few months and see if a 4G lte only tethering app comes out and if they dare to block it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben7337 View Post
    Um, 1) Verizon LTE phones get free tethering til the 15th anyway and more importantly
    2) All of those wifi/usb tether apps, they support 3g, I'm not sure if they support 4g, but so long as they support 3g which verizon does have the right to control, can't verizon block the app simply based on that? Now if there was a 4g LTE only app out there that had no 3g support I imagine that wouldn't be allowed to be blocked. So basically verizon isn't doing anything wrong YET. Let's wait a few months and see if a 4G lte only tethering app comes out and if they dare to block it.
    1) Doesn't matter if they get free tethering anyway, VZW still can't block apps that provide similar services
    2) No, VZW can't block the app just because they happen to support 3G as well. They could block the app for 3G only phones, but they must not interfere with any apps for any device that uses the upper C block spectrum. Because the Thunderbolt does use this, VZW cannot block any apps from the Android market for the Thunderbolt.

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    Wow, I got a few messages wondering about the language about network management.

    The FCC order contains the following language:

    ...use or develop the devices and applications of their choosing in C Block networks, so long as they meet all applicable regulatory requirements and comply with reasonable conditions related to management of the wireless network (i.e., do not cause harm to the network)
    Here, the FCC defines in-line what they mean with respect to network management; namely, by reasonable network management, the FCC means ensuring no harm is caused to the network. Also, (1) the FCC has specifically said that large increases in bandwidth demand are not a harm to a network, (2) VZW permits tethering if you do it with their app that you must pay extra to use (per GB of usage), and (3) the harm referenced is traditionally thought of as things that cause interference with a network, not things that use a lot of it.

    Moreover, the FCC specifically affirmatively grants the carrier the option to throttle or meter usage to manage their network. The only thing they may not do is interfere with (or charge extra for) any usage of any device or app that uses the upper C block spectrum.

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    Okay, so just to clarify and sum things up

    1. Verizon cannot deny any 4G phones, access to the tethering apps on the android market, but they can deny it to 3g only devices
    2. Verizon cannot force you to pay for their tethering service on 4g even if you use a 3rd party app and they know about it
    3. Verizon is allowed to throttle however they so desire to keep the network running quickly, from throttling the top 5% of their users as they claim to do, to setting daily limits to data useage at peak times (e.g. 500mb a day between certain peak data useage hours)

    So basically we are learning that verizon can control our speeds, which is bad, and that they can't technically hinder us in obtaining tethering apps, but it is irrelevant somewhat because anyone who knows anything about android should know how to get the apk files on their own safely, and the good side of it all is that unlike at&t who can force customers onto paying for tethering, verizon has no such recourse, at least not to users of 4g phones, unless they term their paid tethering to be a 3g only service, find a customer tethering over 3g on a 4g capable phone and then decide to force them to pay for the 3g tethering for breaking terms of contract or something, which would just be one of the biggest cons ever. Is all of this about right and fairly relevant?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben7337 View Post
    Okay, so just to clarify and sum things up

    1. Verizon cannot deny any 4G phones, access to the tethering apps on the android market, but they can deny it to 3g only devices
    2. Verizon cannot force you to pay for their tethering service on 4g even if you use a 3rd party app and they know about it
    3. Verizon is allowed to throttle however they so desire to keep the network running quickly, from throttling the top 5% of their users as they claim to do, to setting daily limits to data useage at peak times (e.g. 500mb a day between certain peak data useage hours)

    So basically we are learning that verizon can control our speeds, which is bad, and that they can't technically hinder us in obtaining tethering apps, but it is irrelevant somewhat because anyone who knows anything about android should know how to get the apk files on their own safely, and the good side of it all is that unlike at&t who can force customers onto paying for tethering, verizon has no such recourse, at least not to users of 4g phones, unless they term their paid tethering to be a 3g only service, find a customer tethering over 3g on a 4g capable phone and then decide to force them to pay for the 3g tethering for breaking terms of contract or something, which would just be one of the biggest cons ever. Is all of this about right and fairly relevant?
    1. Correct, any phone that uses the upper C block can never be denied apps. (Now, that means any of their 4G phones, but could mean 5G in the future). They can deny to 3G-only devices, because they can't use the spectrum with the open platform restriction. (all 3G only devices only connection to 850 or 1900mhz band, not the upper C of 700)
    2. Correct. They cannot interfere or charge for utilizing any app, which would include tethering apps. The FCC likened the restrictions to Skype usage, where VZW used to prohibit VoIP calling on their network. The FCC order said that a Skype app (using VoIP) must be allowed on the phones, and VZW cannot discriminate against the data or charge for doing so. By corollary, VZW must allow apps like PDAnet, and cannot discriminate against the data that apps like PDAnet use.
    3. Yep. VZW can do whatever they want to manage the network, so long as the restrictions apply equally. (i.e., they can't throttle only those that tether with PDAnet, but they can throttle everyone who uses more than X amount of data).

    And your entire bottom paragraph sounds correct. While VZW has to allow 4G phones to get the apps that allow tethering, they don't have to allow tethering over their 3G networks. They can absolutely make someone doing so pay for breaking the terms while on the 3G network.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newyork4me View Post
    1. Correct, any phone that uses the upper C block can never be denied apps. (Now, that means any of their 4G phones, but could mean 5G in the future). They can deny to 3G-only devices, because they can't use the spectrum with the open platform restriction. (all 3G only devices only connection to 850 or 1900mhz band, not the upper C of 700)
    2. Correct. They cannot interfere or charge for utilizing any app, which would include tethering apps. The FCC likened the restrictions to Skype usage, where VZW used to prohibit VoIP calling on their network. The FCC order said that a Skype app (using VoIP) must be allowed on the phones, and VZW cannot discriminate against the data or charge for doing so. By corollary, VZW must allow apps like PDAnet, and cannot discriminate against the data that apps like PDAnet use.
    3. Yep. VZW can do whatever they want to manage the network, so long as the restrictions apply equally. (i.e., they can't throttle only those that tether with PDAnet, but they can throttle everyone who uses more than X amount of data).

    And your entire bottom paragraph sounds correct. While VZW has to allow 4G phones to get the apps that allow tethering, they don't have to allow tethering over their 3G networks. They can absolutely make someone doing so pay for breaking the terms while on the 3G network.
    What is it with people and the term 5G? Isn't that like a huge misnomer? Is there any such thing as 5G even in plans to be created? I thought the ICU or ICT or w/e the group is called originally said 4G is LTE advanced which gets 100mbps down moving and 1gbps when stable in one position, will anyone even see such speeds anytime in the next 10-20 yrs in the USA? I'm just saying I don't see 4G hitting limits anytime soon, and I imagine LTE advanced can be put on LTE towers via some sort of software upgrade. Now maybe verizon could call their LTE advanced network when they start upgrading it at some point 5G, but I doubt speeds would increase, that's all backhaul upgrades, not tower/connection type upgrades, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben7337 View Post
    What is it with people and the term 5G? Isn't that like a huge misnomer? Is there any such thing as 5G even in plans to be created? I thought the ICU or ICT or w/e the group is called originally said 4G is LTE advanced which gets 100mbps down moving and 1gbps when stable in one position, will anyone even see such speeds anytime in the next 10-20 yrs in the USA? I'm just saying I don't see 4G hitting limits anytime soon, and I imagine LTE advanced can be put on LTE towers via some sort of software upgrade. Now maybe verizon could call their LTE advanced network when they start upgrading it at some point 5G, but I doubt speeds would increase, that's all backhaul upgrades, not tower/connection type upgrades, right?
    Right. Not that there is any plans for a 5G anytime soon, I just wanted to reiterate that the restrictions are not just limited to a specific technology (4G) on the spectrum. In fact, even if VZW deployed 3G/EVDO on the 700mhz, they'd still have to allow all the same things.

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    I understand, I was just curious because lots of people keep mentioning 5g online like it is something that exists or will exist sometime in the forseeable future. I see 5G ending up on 2G spectrum though more likely than anything else, unless verizon can get some nice spectrum from somewhere else, VoLTE would allow 2g to be dropped super easily without anyone noticing or caring.

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    I hate to play the Devil's Advocate here, but didn't VZW simply remove/hide the relevant apps in the Android Market? While it is a grey area, I do not think this qualifies as breaking the rules of the 700 MHz Upper C block license. Any user is free to download the *.apk file and install it on their device. Web links to the *.apk files are not blocked. Installation of *.apk files is not blocked. The users do not need to root their device or otherwise change from a stock installation to install the *.apk files. This is hardly preventing/hindering the users from getting the free tethering apps. While most users may not have enough experience to know how to install an app anywhere BUT from the market, it's not really VZW interfering with the right of the user to install and use the apps.

    As I said, it's a grey area. However, I think VZW can make a fairly good case that they are not interfering, blocking, or preventing any user from freely using any app that does not cause network harm.
    I'm just here to inform, even if it's myself.

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    interfere with the ability of end users to download and utilize applications of their choosing on the licensee’s Block C network

    I would call removing an app from the market which a majority of users both use and know well as interfering, sure it isn't outright stopping anyone, those of us who know better just laugh at them removing it from our view, but removing it from view on the marketplace for us is most definitely a form of interference, and I would bet a lot of less educated users who want the app would be lost trying to find it with this interference.

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    mosherkl - My understanding is that the menu interface on the device actually hides the installed program's icon making it impossible to launch it even if sideloaded. They say that this occurs based on the network provider blacklist. In GSM phones they are looking at the network ID of the SIM card. In Verizon phones, it would likely be completely blocked since their phones can't reasonably be used on any other network.

    Source: http://pocketnow.com/android/wireles...ed-by-carriers

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    Block, degrade, or interfere with the ability of end users to download and utilize applications of their choosing on the licensee’s Block C network

    Problem is, all of these apps also utilize the carriers 3G network which they are allowed to do whatever they want with. There is no way to prove they are blocking it so you cannot access the LTE network. Unless an app is created that only utilizes 4G, I think they are well within their right to block these apps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchartz View Post
    Block, degrade, or interfere with the ability of end users to download and utilize applications of their choosing on the licensee’s Block C network

    Problem is, all of these apps also utilize the carriers 3G network which they are allowed to do whatever they want with. There is no way to prove they are blocking it so you cannot access the LTE network. Unless an app is created that only utilizes 4G, I think they are well within their right to block these apps.
    I agree. I feel like VZW can always say that these apps were removed because they were used for 3G connection, and it just so happens that it also affects the LTE network. I am very sure Verizon thought about this with their legal team before pulling the trigger.

    If they do not, in fact, have permission to do this, I will be filing a complaint. Verizon has gotten so hot-headed lately. They know they are the best and up till now they were pretty relaxed about it. Now, they seem to be pushing everyone into a Steve Jobs world full of can and cannots. They have stripped customer-friendly policies and forced people to sign longer contracts. They degrade content so it loads faster (although I haven't noticed any repercussions because of this). If their network wasnt so dang reliable (and fast now with LTE), I would consider jumping ship.

    The thing is, its not really better anywhere else. AT&T started this whole "no free tethering" idea, and they also force 2 years and cripple Android phones. Add to that their iffy network in places and its hard to pay the same thing I would at Verizon, where my calls went through and data was fast...even if I did have to live with Verizon's "new policies". Then there's T-mobile, which doesn't have 3G coverage over most of the US and come next year wont exist anymore and Sprint...well lets be serious.
    I'm just a twenty-something year old college graduate speaking geek on HoFo!

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    I'm fine with them hiding the application's. At least their not so stingy as to add tethering without your permission like AT&T with unreasonable 2-4GB caps.

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