One of our readers, David, let me know about a call he recently had with Aaron Fischman in Verizon’s Northeast Area Executive Relations department. His complaint was directed towards the fact that Verizon has a policy of locking down the GPS on all of their BlackBerry devices. That way customers have to pay $10 a month for Verizon’s Navigator software.
David did turn up some interesting info. Of note is the fact that Verizon BlackBerrys on corporate accounts should currently be able to sign up for TeleNav as an alternative to VZnavigator.
Take it at face value since there is no corroboration on this one. I just feel the pain of every user who has their BlackBerry crippled by Verizon. Don’t forget to sign the petition.
From David’s call with Verizon (in his words):
I sent in a complaint to Charlie Falco, Verizon VP of Customer Relations. I was requested to contact Aaron Fischman in Northeast Area Executive Relations. Aaron and I had a long chat, in which he reiterated that Verizon does this in order to “protect the security and privacy of it’s customers” (i.e. the ‘party line’).
Plainly to the point, “Verizon Wireless has no intention of modifying it’s policy regarding the blocking of 3rd party application access to any Blackberry device internal GPS location until such time as ‘Open Access’ becomes available late 2008”. Aaron said that there were many applications that have been submitted by vendors for testing/approval under their ‘Open Access’ policy but would not give any examples.
He did also mention that as of this past Monday (7/7/2008), for “corporate-liable” Blackberry smartphones ONLY, Verizon has begun authorizing Telenav as an alternative to VZNavigator. He was unsure if or when this might be offered to “customer-liable” corporate accounts. But Telenav is hardly any different than VZNavigator, and still would cost extra every month.
I will say after having spoken with Aaron, he seemed to to be trying to be helpful, but it was apparent that he had absolutely NO CLUE of the vast array of LBS applications (or apps in general) there are for a Blackberry. He seemed to be under some misguided assumption that the only apps one can install on a Blackberry are those approved and offered by Verizon. It is too bad that a company as large as Verizon puts someone in a position such as “Executive Relations” that doesn’t even seem to know the devices. Didn’t get the impression he has ever even laid hands on a Blackberry.