Generally, there is so much actually happening in the IT and telecommunications sectors that it's a good idea for a blogger to shy away from writing posts based on rumors and speculation.
Right now, however, there seem to be at least three intriguing rumors-all involving Verizon-that are are interesting and important enough to be mentioned before anything concrete is announced.
The first is the state of negotiations between Google and Verizon on net neutrality. Google, which has paid lip service to the idea that it is against the ethos of the Internet to enable businesses to pay carriers or service providers extra for faster or otherwise superior carriage, may be on the cusp of doing just that.
There were many reports last week about negotiations, under the banner of the Federal Communications Commission, between Verizon and Google. Net neutrality proponents resent the heavy-handed nature of a handful of companies inking an agreement that in all likelihood will become a fait accompli for the industry as a whole. In addition to the process, the rest of the industry is no doubt unhappy with the reported terms. Over at CTOEdge, Wayne Rash counsels folks to wait and see what the negotiations really are about. If The Washington Post's take is correct, the controversy will only grow. Such an agreement would put the hottest area of telecommunications in play:
Specifically, Google and Verizon's agreement could prevent Verizon from offering some prioritization to the biggest bidders who want better delivery of content on its DSL and fiber networks, according to the sources. But that wouldn't apply to mobile phones, the sources said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the companies have not officially made their announcement.
The second note is that rumors that Verizon is close to offering the iPhone have resurfaced. The current TechCrunch report, however, differs from the periodic rumors in that there seems to be some validating facts.
Verizon's network runs on the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), which is different than the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) platform used by AT&T, currently the iPhone's only carrier. The writer said that sources tell him that Apple has ordered a huge number of CDMA chipsets. He feels strongly enough about the evidence to predict that AT&T will be offering Apple products soon.
Here is the most important paragraph from the TechCrunch piece:
Sources with knowledge of this entire situation have assured me that Apple has submitted orders for millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a Verizon iPhone run due in December. This production run would likely be for a January launch, and I'd bet the phone is nearly 100% consistent with the current iPhone 4 (with a fixed internal insulator on the antenna).
The third item is a bit lower profile than the first two. But it is worth a few words since it touches on a market that is worth more than $3 trillion. This Bloomberg report says that two sources confirm that AT&T and Verizon Wireless have chosen Austin, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and perhaps Atlanta to test smartphone payment technologies. The "Mercury" project, to begin in mid-2011, is aimed at assessing whether smartphones can grab some of the payment card market. That market, the story says, is dominated by Visa and MasterCard. Those two companies handled $2.45 trillion last year, which represents 82 percent of the mammoth market.