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Verizon says it blocks Google Wallet due to secure element requirement

The saga of Google Wallet on Big Red’s airwaves has been an interesting one to follow. The mobile payments app was initially allowed on Verizon’s network, but was later blocked by the carrier through the Google Play Store and within the app itself. Well, an FCC complaint was filed and it caught Verizon’s eye, so much so that America’s largest carrier ended up responding to the complaint with haste.

In its response, Verizon reiterates that it would not be blocking Google Wallet on NFC devices if the app didn’t require access to the devices’ secure element. The company goes on to state that alternate payment apps — like Starbucks, Square and Paypal — aren’t being blocked because they don’t require access to the NFC chip’s secure element.

This is no doubt a move to dispel any anti-trust allegations that may arise thanks to Verizon’s conflict of interests with its mobile payments provider ISIS. ISIS is expected to make full use of the NFC chips inside Verizon’s phones whenever it launches, and it sure wouldn’t look pretty in the eyes of the FCC should the development take place without any explanation from Verizon.

Verizon states “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.” Verizon apparently won’t grant an application access to the secure element until it goes through a “special process,” one that we’re not surprised to see go unexplained in the text sent to the FCC.

Whether or not there actually is a special process that Google could go through to get Wallet approved for full NFC use is an entirely different beast of a story yet to be told. You can be sure we’re hunting down official word regarding that bit. Whatever the case may be, though, one thing is clear — Verizon thinks it’s in the right, and is not the least bit afraid to express that.

[XDA via Droid-Life]




  • effApple

    Well the ease with which you can screw up google wallet by resetting to default without clearing GW is a little disconcerting.. however I still dont think they should be blocking it… still smells of antitrust to me. None of the other apps they quoted use NFC for their payment systems

    • C-Law

      Don’t be so ignorant. I don’t think this a problem with stock users, just people who rom and they should know better when they decide to go down that road

      • foxpacific

        Talk about ignorant… it’s the stock users that CAN’T use Google Wallet… Those that have rooted are the ones who are able to use it…

  • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

    Verizon can suck it.

  • Andy_in_Indy

    Wait, isn’t the secure element part of the hardware check to make sure someone didn’t just clone the signals? Isn’t that supposed to make the Google Wallet system more secure? Did Verizon say they won’t allow this because it is more secure than the other systems? I have to be missing something.

  • http://www.facebook.com/corystone Cory Stone

    If verizon feels this way then they should stop supporting google all together. Google rayps everyones information. I still can’t believe the install base android has when such disgusting fact are out there.

    • DonMcCall

      Fact of the matter is EVERY communications company gathers, stores, and (most) sells your information. In fact, Verizon themselves are pushing to get customers to allow them to gather even more info about themselves so they can sell it. Don’t think for a second that Apple and Microsoft don’t do the same thing. The only difference with Google is that they use that info to make their business models better and provide even better services. Most other companies do sell your info to third parties. “Don’t be evil” may not be as clear-cut as it was in the past, but it is clear that Google puts much more thought and care into the use of personal data than virtually any other large internet company or telco.

      • http://profiles.google.com/daniel142005 Daniel Weisinger

        At least Google (at the moment) still follows their “Don’t be evil” slogan. Yes, they collect more information, but they don’t sell it because they don’t need to. The data Google collects is used for their services only, for others to access that data you have to give them permission yourself (through an app or a site that logs in with Google). This is a hell of a lot better knowing how secure Google is compared to others, plus.. who do you trust more? Google, or someone like Verizon that sells your data to unknown random that probably have relaxed security requirements (if any)?

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcelo-Burrieza/100000489847678 Marcelo Burrieza

          Verizon also charges you ~100 bucks, while they still sell your data… Most Google services are free and they do not sell your data, they sell adds based on your data (BIG difference).

          What they say here is that NFC is not permited unless its a Verizon App

    • storm14k

      And you tell us this by posting on a comment system that collects your data and according to the TOS can sell it?

    • foxpacific

      And yet, not a single solitary problem have I ever had with Google holding all my information… Proven track record of trust… dumb ass

  • Adam s

    This seems like they are just trying to get us to pay for nfc payment apps and transactions. Verizon quit extorting people please.

  • http://profiles.google.com/efdisaster John Voegtlin

    Shhhhh! Don’t tell Verizon that I’ve been using Wallet on my phone since May.

    • Havoc70

      Exactly, rooted and using Wallet on my Gnex

    • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

      Ditto, my friend.

  • Crimsonshadow774

    How ridiculous. Thank you Google for allowing us to do whatever we want to android and use it however we want, but we’re going to block your app from your operating system because it has top clearance.

    Well guess what Verizon, it works on all 5 Gnex’s in my house and my S3. Suck it.

  • Alu Zeros

    Dear Verizon,

    Get off your carrier pedestal, and add Google Wallet. You have no valid justification to block it. ISIS is a failure for it’s launch. It’s sole reasons as such, when Google or Apple come out with it’s own carrier service, people will flock to it. Prediction: Verizon and At&t will have no choice but be forced to downplay to more fair competition due to Google/Apple/Microsoft/RIM’s more involvement in reducing carrier BS.

  • Alexander Borsi

    So let me get this straight: It is okay for every major bank in America to allow Joe Q. Public use for every day purchases–but it’s NOT okay to use on Verizon’s device just because they say so?

    What this really means is this: Verizon doesn’t want it unless they can get a little nibble of that payment. Since the Google wallet transactions look like regular encrypted data that they can’t inspect, they can’t charge more for it–thus, they do not want it on their network. They then invent new arbitrary rules to prevent others from using a device that is an industry standard and accepted method of payment information transmission.

    Same deal with the tethering over 4G. Took the government getting involved for them to realize that they dun goofed and they allow it now–but ONLY if you are on a metered plan. If you have grandfathered unlimited, NOPE! Even though it is the same network using the same signals and everything.

    It will be interesting to see if the ISIS payment method won’t use the secure element. If it does, then Big Red is going to have some ‘splaining to do. How is it an open network and not restricting the use of apps and data if you restrict the use of apps and data just because it uses something that you certified to work on your network?

    And if ISIS doesn’t use the secure element, how are they going about securing the transaction data and how are they going to make it work everywhere? Google’s big problem is that NFC isin’t in enough places–otherwise, it would be a landslide and I would be using it heavily. But what is ISIS going to use to secure it?

    • michael arazan

      If wallet was allowed their would be a stromg following with wallet already, Isis is going to charge the consumers to use the Isis program while wallet does not charge the consumer to use them when buying products. Isis will not allow you to use your own banking cards, You will have to pay Isis to refill your Isis account.

      Verizon all about greed just like the Tiered share data price gouging they have now.

      BTW Google already fixed the issue Verizon said was the problem in an update to Google wallet in the past few months. Now Verizon is lying through its ass. I hope Google will provide the proof to the FCC showing the fix and the FCC fines Verizon again but hopefully more, at least 10 million or more for this violation.

      EFF Verizon, burn in hell

  • Jason

    This is a secure and proprietary piece of hardware built
    into some devices, but fundamentally separate from the device’s basic
    communications functions
    or its operating system.

    Huh? What was that? I could have sworn that Verizon just said that this “proprietary piece of hardware” has nothing to do with communicating on their network.

    And “proprietary” to whom, I might add. It’s certainly not Verizon’s chip.

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    I wouldn’t be surprised if that A$$hole Shamoo is behind this….

  • renGek

    Whatever verizon. I have 11 months left on my contract with you and then we’re divorced and I’m taking everything with me. All your pathetic attempts have failed. I’ve been using my GW for almost a year. I only regret those with GS3 and new nexus that don’t know they could have had an awesome app. I can’t wait to see VZ’s pathetic payment app…oh right its STILL in beta testing after over a year of “we’re about to launch our payment app which is basically the same as google wallet but worse but you’re going to use it because we said so”.

  • Mark Williams

    Google acquired Android to ensure they can push their services to the mobile customer. Next will be for Google to purchase/create a wireless network to take on the big bad Verizon!

  • storm14k

    Getting a Nexus 4 within the next 6 months and getting the fug off Verizon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jamille-Browne/1184321457 Jamille Browne

    Wow Verizon is so full of themselves, thats why you a*hats don’t get no nexus love this time around. You would think since google created the very essence of what verizon is selling is based up entirely on you’d think they would be cool with google making for a more secure app. This is the many reasons I will never have the big V as my carrier because they act like a big v with their products always trying to control people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.arbuckle.35 Robert Arbuckle

    Verizon also won’t let you use another device for Google Wallet, such as a Nexus 7, if it is teathered to one of their devices. If I teather off of my phone, the Nexus 7′s wallet will not connect and update, won’t let you add cc info, etc…
    They are totally blocking any use of the app on their network.

    • storm14k

      You should report that to the FCC. A guy posted the link to the site to do that on another store like this some weeks ago but I don’t have it bookmarked here. Shouldn’t take much to Google it though. Yes that is complete crap.

  • http://profiles.google.com/bullard.randyj Randy Bullard

    As a long standing Verizon customer with a very BIG bill every month, I sent a polite personal email to Michele Elliot with Verizon (email in the letter) requesting that Verizon grant my request to allow me to choose which trusted vendors have access to my “secure element” in my phone, and that I choose Google and to use Google Wallet as designed with this security feature enabled.

    I don’t pretend that my individual letter means much, but I really resent Verizon for taking this stand. I pay way too much to Verizon for them to not play friendly with Google if that’s what I want. I don’t need or want the bloatware that Verizon forces onto my phones, or to be forced to use or not use particular vendors because it suits their corporate goals. I pay them TOO MUCH to be treated that way.

  • Steve Green

    Who owns the device exactly? If verizon wants to lease them fine, but as the current model is sales they should not have the right to make that decision.

  • E. Tasche

    They said previously that VERIZON requires the ‘secure element’, and Google Wallet does not check for this.. Now they are changing their story. So when do we show them for liars they are, and show the FCC that this corporation is giving them fictitious reasoning for their anti-competitive actions?

    Hmm, might have to do some searching to find those old letters online.

  • http://AfterCredits.com Chris R.

    Awesome! I’ll just go to the Play store now and download it on my SGIII….wait, I don’t see it. There must be some mistake…