Google Wallet Rolls Out To More Devices – Nope, Still No Love For Verizon, AT&T Or T-Mobile Owners

Posted: May 16, 2013 in Google, GT, Mobile

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Google sadly scrapped its plans to introduce a plastic
“universal” credit card that works at point-of-sale as a
way to use its Google Wallet service out in the real
world, but the company has not given up on its NFC-
powered payments solution just yet. The company
announced Wednesday evening that the Google Wallet app now works on more phones: the Samsung
Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy Note II and HTC One on
Sprint and the Samsung Galaxy Note II on US
Cellular. As you may have noticed, there’s a looming problem
with Google Wallet, and no, it’s not international
support. It’s that Google still can’t roll the app out
across the U.S. Of the big four mobile carriers here,
Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile, all but Sprint are
backing a competing NFC-based payments initiative called Isis. Though this program is only in pilot trials
in Austin and Salt Lake City, it’s clear the carriers are
hoping to delay and impede progress
of competitive solutions when they can, using
regulatory red tape and any other legal loopholes they
can find. In Verizon’s case, the company skirted around the
FCC’s 2012 decree which said it couldn’t block
applications from download, with a few exceptions.
(Initially, the carrier blocked the installation of the
application from Google Play entirely.) According to
Verizon, the secure element being used in Google Wallet is the issue. The carrier told the FCC that the
app requires integration with the secure element on
the device – something that makes it different from
other m-commerce apps like Square or PayPal. And
this is a “secure and proprietary piece of hardware”
that’s “fundamentally separate from the device’s basic communications functions or its operating
system,” said Verizon. “Verizon has a straightforward process under which
Google or others could launch devices on Verizon’s
network with Google Wallet included,” Verizon
responded at the time of the FCC inquiry. In a sense, the carrier is positioning the Google
Wallet app as something that requires additional
oversight and control because of the way it integrates
with phone hardware. Nevermind that the Verizon-
backed Isis solution works in almost exactly the
same way. (More on that here – specifically, see the amended complaint the site links to for a discussion
of technical issues.) So Google Wallet’s app continues to be non-
functional on Verizon today. Meanwhile, other carriers like T-Mobile don’t even
seem to be bothering to try and hide the fact that
they’re actively stopping the app from working on their
devices because of their involvement with Isis. Take
T-Mobile for example, which in response to a question
about why Google Wallet doesn’t work on the Note II, posted on Twitter today: @politicalgamez We’re supporting ISIS, the wireless
payment standard for mobile devices tinyurl.com/
cs8kc3q ^VS — T-Mobile USA (@TMobileHelp) May 16, 2013 Oh, Isis is the “standard” now, not NFC? Nice try, T-
Mobile.

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