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Some HSPA, Wi-Fi forced out of Storm by Verizon?

updated 09:15 am EDT, Fri October 31, 2008

Verizon Axed Storm Wi-Fi

Verizon's edition of the BlackBerry Storm was intentionally stripped of 3G and Wi-Fi features, according to a claim by "top-level" sources for BGR. Although it would have technically been possible to include tri-band HSPA 3G to allow true world roaming, the American carrier has reportedly had all HSPA frequency support pulled save for its partner Vodafone's 2,100MHz band to discourage buyers from unlocking the phone and using it with AT&T or other carriers.

The move wouldn't preclude unlocking the device altogether but would limit it to EDGE-based 2G data as well as GSM calls; AT&T and many other carriers support this, but networks and whole countries where 3G is the only option for calling, such as Japan, are locked out by the move.

Additionally, Verizon has reportedly also insisted on the absence of Wi-Fi, though the reasons behind the move are less clear. Removing short-range wireless puts greater dependence on Verizon's EVDO Revision A network but also lets the carrier minimize the use of apps that might let customers use simpler cellular plans or avoid the VCAST online store, such as VoIP or music store clients.

If accurate, the limitation underscores concerns by critics that providers are unnecessarily limiting the potential of phones to resist a move towards open networks and platforms, where they see reduced opportunities to collect extra revenue. Other US carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile have typically been more open and allowed at least some carrier-specific devices with extra network support, such as the tri-band 3G and Wi-Fi of the BlackBerry Bold and iPhone 3G. The T-Mobile G1 includes Wi-Fi and is notable for using the open-source Android OS, which allows for VoIP and other features that some carriers normally block.

by MacNN Staff



  1. gambit-7

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You know what?

    It's times like these that I'm glad to be on AT&T. At least they're actively trying!

  1. macvette

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I remember hearing similar stories about Verizon's version of the Motorola RAZR.

    I wonder if the cell phone developers get ticked when the customer (Verizon) forces them to turn off the cool features the engineers worked so hard to include.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Very typical!

    This story may be totally wrong, since CDMA phones notmally don't even have SIM card slots for international roaming on GSM HSPA networks, but it does bring home an important point.

    Verizon epitomises what is wrong with cellular industry in the US. They are the most famous of all US carriers for radically crippling their devices' features in order to funnel users to their store. Assigning an MP3 as a ring-tone, downloading and installing third-party wallpapers or themes, customising in any way one's phone is practically impossible without paying extra to Verizon.

    They may have an excellent 3G coverage, but what good is that when you have no way of getting anything on your own and must pay extra even for using your own song as a ringtone.

    AT&T was the only carrier that agreed on completely commoditising their service and removing practically all AT&T branding from a device (the iPhone). In return, they got millions of new subscribers at high-premium monthly rate of $70.

    Verizon clearly believes they could squeeze their customers enough to make these $70 per month through all those extra services. Good luck with that, Verizon!

  1. digiprod

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No WiFi at Verizon

    Verizon ONLY offers ONE Windows Mobile phone with WiFi now. No Nokia, No Android. Rejected the iPhone.

  1. typ993

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Agree with vasic


    Well put! I used to be a Verizon customer before switching to AT&T for an iPhone. I was a little leery of leaving Verizon's excellent coverage and fast EVDO network behind, but not so sad about leaving behind Verizon's attitude toward suckers, I mean customers.

    Shenanigans like this make me happy I switched...

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    But you get about a hundred idiots following you around to make sure your network stays up.

  1. que_ball

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cost a reason

    It sounds like the reasoning behind such a decision was not spelled out to the "insider" and the competition thing is only their best guess.

    Wouldn't it be just as likely that Verizon just wanted to keep the costs reasonable? I mean sure you can put in all those extra features but at some point you have to stop or the pricing will be too high.

    All those extra radios and frequencies and antenna modifications to support those frequencies etc just mean more on the cost of manufacturing. More on the cost of design. More testing is required to make sure they all work. The extra chips may also mean less battery life or a larger size on the device.

    Sure it could have WiFi but EVDO coverage is great and with a good data plan it's not such a big deal in practice. The vast majority of users do not roam at all. When you are roaming in an area where the extra HSPA frequencies would help you may not be able to afford the data charges that a large download would cost so you would only be doing basic email and IM to keep the price down. The slower edge speed will be fine for compressed email so it's not a big deal.

  1. Homer1946

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You are already paying

    Cost is not the reason. If the features are already designed into the phone then the cost is already included. Crippling the phone doesn't lower the cost and probably doesn't even change the hardware.

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