Moving the U.S. wireless industry a step closer to the model in much of the rest of the world, Verizon says it will soon allow its customers to use a wide array of phones and mobile devices
bought elsewhere. Right now, Verizon Wireless customers have to go to its retail stores, or those of its partners, and choose from whatever phones are offered by the carrier.
short term, the impact of the shift may be limited. But the change, which will take effect by the middle of next year, is a big shift for the nation's No. 2 carrier by subscribers. And Verizon's
change of heart is the latest sign of how regulatory, legal and market pressures are forcing U.S. wireless carriers to rethink their traditional models and give consumers more freedom to pick their
network providers, devices and mobile applications.
Verizon's biggest competitor, AT&T, says it isn't contemplating a similar move. The other two major wireless carriers--Sprint and T-Mobile--tout their openness to new features and phones but stop short of saying they will duplicate Verizon's move.