Currently, Google Wallet only comes on devices bought on contract from one US carrier. And that is Sprint. The others, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are all backing ISIS. Which is their competitor to Google Wallet. Initially Google Wallet was available on Verizon devices, but it eventually got blocked from the Play Store which forced many users to sideload the apk, and various other methods. Well a Verizon customer (we’re assuming he’s one of their customers) complained to the FCC about it. And we’ve got an image of Verizon’s response below.
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In Verizon’s response, they state that the Google Wallet app is requesting access to the devices’ secure element. Verizon also goes on to say that apps like Starbucks, Square and Paypal do not require the secure element and is why they are not blocked. Of course Verizon is going to try their best to dispel any allegations against them for anti-trust. As well as conflict of interest since their support is behind ISIS, which is currently only available in two test markets.
Verizon goes on to say that “Google is free to offer its Google Wallet application in a manner that doesn’t require integration with the secure element, and many payment applications do just that”. So it appears the fight between Verizon and Google is heating up more and more. First was the whole Galaxy Nexus thing that started late last year, and continued with the very late update to Android 4.1.1. Now Google Wallet is in the spotlight.
So whether or not there is a way for Google to make Google Wallet utilize a “special process” on Verizon devices so it doesn’t require the secure element, Verizon is still coming under fire on this one. And whether or not Verizon is in the right or wrong, Verizon apparently feels they are in the right and isn’t afraid to tell everyone.
Those of you on Verizon, would you rather Verizon back ISIS or Google Wallet? Personally, I’d rather them back Google Wallet. That way everything is in one spot. And ISIS requires a new SIM card while Google Wallet does not. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.