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Verizon Blocking Google Wallet? Poor Decision

1:25 PM -- Money is one of the biggest things couples fight about, and it looks like it's also driving a wedge in the wireless ecosystem.

Verizon Wireless will be blocking Google Wallet from the Samsung Corp. Galaxy S when it launches any day now, despite the fact that it's an Near-Field Communications (NFC) phone and an Android NFC service, The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday. A Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) spokesman told the publication, “Verizon asked us not to include this functionality in the product,” although it’ll still be downloadable from the app store. (See Google Preps for an Ice Cream Social.)

Verizon says it’s still working to provide the security and user experience possible for mCommerce, but what that really means is it’s eschewing Google’s Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)-supported payments and couponing service as it waits for its own Isis platform to launch. (See Google Taps Sprint for Tap-to-Pay, Sprint Stakes Its mCommerce Claim and US Carriers Combine Mobile Wallets.)

This kind of attitude is the main reason that promise of mCommerce remains unrealized. The market is made up of so many competing interests that its progressed has stalled and it's quickly becoming fragmented amongst the few players that have services ready.

If Verizon is indeed blocking Google Wallet from its smartphones, it’s an indication of how formidable of a competitor it perceives Google to be. (See Making Money on Mobile Money, Mobile Ops Unite to Keep NFC in the SIM, US Wireless Operators Spend Big on mCommerce.)

And, those fears are warranted, but Verizon’s attitude right now needs to be that the rising tide lifts all ships. Otherwise, the mCommerce market will remain lost at sea.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:47:13 PM
re: Verizon Blocking Google Wallet? Poor Decision

Well, Verizon has just issued a statement that it isn't blocking Google Wallet and that it doesn't block apps. Says that Google Wallet requires integration with a proprietary hardware element in the phone, and it's in discussions with Google on the issue.


I assume that means with the NFC chip, which the phone already has. You can still download the Google Wallet app though, so I'm not sure what the required integration is about...

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:47:13 PM
re: Verizon Blocking Google Wallet? Poor Decision

Seems like if Isis is better than consumers would gravitate towards it anyway, so there'd be no need to disallow it. But, I think this also demonstrates how much control wireless operators have over the channel and, as a result, consumers. If Google can only get on Sprint phones, it'll have a hard time gaining traction. 

jdbower 12/5/2012 | 4:47:13 PM
re: Verizon Blocking Google Wallet? Poor Decision

It'll be interesting to see how this ends up.  The Nexus S on AT&T and T-Mobile have been hacked to run Google Wallet "illegally" and undoubtedly the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon will as well so power users shouldn't care much.  I agree with VZW that Isis is probably a better bet since it has buy-in from more card providers (Wallet needs a specific Citi card or a pre-paid setup), but Isis also doesn't exist yet.  Whether the latest VZW release was a dumb marketeer who didn't realize they were finally about to offer an Android phone with NFC or if the entire no-Wallet rumor was just part of the drama that has been the Galaxy Nexus release remains to be seen.  

jdbower 12/5/2012 | 4:47:12 PM
re: Verizon Blocking Google Wallet? Poor Decision

Agreed on all counts.

steve q 12/5/2012 | 4:47:07 PM
re: Verizon Blocking Google Wallet? Poor Decision

I see this as other bad move verizon wireless is doing you have to look at who use these ph. And most are business that are on the road,and they need other way to service there customer. The issue is will google stop service the verizon ph,and all this work with the verizon corp fois service but they are going to stop putting out new town to servicing the customer that like a change.  A sad way to show who is best.

jepovic 12/5/2012 | 4:47:03 PM
re: Verizon Blocking Google Wallet? Poor Decision

I think they're nervous about screwing things up with their customers' money. Anything pre-installed might seem like Verizon's responsibility from the customers' point of view. If there are problems, it could be a customer service and branding nightmare.


"But, I think this also demonstrates how much control wireless operators have over the channel and, as a result, consumers."


Control, yes, but also responsibilty. Many, many customers will believe that Verizon is responsible for Google Wallet. Who do you think they will call? Who will they blame?  What the customer agreement says is much less important than the customer perception. VZ has a lot at stake here.


NadineK 12/5/2012 | 4:46:53 PM
re: Verizon Blocking Google Wallet? Poor Decision

Mobile payment system has become known for the past many years. Behind this progression, there is a conflict between Google and Verizon. Verizon Wireless has announced that it will not permit Google Wallet to be installed on any phones supplied by the carrier. Verizon hasn't really said what those worries are. However, it is recognized that Verizon has its own in-house edition of near field communication payment system, the forthcoming Isis. This shift may end up leading to a lot of issues between the two companies. I read this here: http://www.appisaurus.com/1280-google-wallet-verizon-wireless/.

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