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Open Sesame

Cell phone companies are starting to free up their networks. Here's the latest on the liberation.

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This story appears in the April 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

's new free and open mobile phone platform, Android, is pressuring traditional wireless phone carriers to follow suit with their networks, hardware and software. Most GSM carriers like AT&T and have been quietly allowing unlocked phones to be activated on their networks. But that had pretty much been the extent of the providers' openness--until recently. In big news for CDMA phone users, previously iron-fisted Verizon Wireless announced that it will offer customers open access to approved third-party applications and software by the end of the year. And AT&T plans to do the same for users. Similarly, the offers mobile phone users the ability to pick and choose their phones' software and application bundles; the only difference is that Android is not tied to a specific service provider.

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