That's the take of some communications lawyers, according to Wired. Recall that three years ago, the FCC imposed open access rules on the 700 Mhz spectrum that Verizon and others now use for their fourth-generation wireless broadband networks. The rules clearly require Verizon to allow customers to bring their own devices to the network. But they also appear to require that any 4G device sold by Verizon be open to loading any app the customer wants to load, a requirement the iPhone does not meet.
The rules were inserted at the behest of Google, which was bidding for the spectrum but who some cynics contended got involved not to win but to ensure that whoever got the spectrum couldn’t hamper its business, which requires a free and robust internet.
Google’s idea was to create an open space for innovation where a person could buy any device (including one from Google) and run any app that met open standards with no interference by the carrier.
And depending upon how you interpret the rules, which Verizon fought in court before the auction, they also required that the wireless carrier only offer devices that are open and able to run any app. That interpretation would clearly rule out the iPhone, which is locked down by design, and only apps approved by Apple can be loaded onto the device without breaking the device’s warranty.
-Wired, Feb. 25, 2011