In case you haven’t heard the news, Verizon’s ISIS application is officially confirmed to have access to the secure element found in the carrier’s NFC-enabled phones. This is a big deal because much has been made about Verizon’s willingness to block Google Wallet access.
When a complaint was filed to the FCC regarding the issue Verizon responded saying Google Wallet would be just as fine as any application if it didn’t need the secure element. The problem is that Google would have to strip NFC payment functionality out of the app in order for it to meet Verizon’s requirements, and that pretty much defeats the purpose of Google Wallet in the first place.
Big Red said ISIS had to pass a certification process in order to be granted the special privileges it has, but we were never told whether or not Google had just as much of a chance of being granted certification. In fact, we’re not even sure if it’s possible for Google to begin any sort of certification process. That’s something that Verizon is being tight-lipped on for now, but should we find out that ISIS is being given special treatment are any of us really surprised?
Before Google Wallet was officially unveiled, it was revealed that three of America’s biggest carriers — AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon — were teaming up to help build the ISIS wagon. Sprint was the only carrier not willing to join that particular rodeo, and they ended up embracing Google’s mobile payments service no problem. It’s interesting to note that AT&T nor T-Mobile have been against Google Wallet access on their devices, so it’s unlikely that a conflict of interest or some contractual obligation is keeping Verizon from opening its arms.
Some would suggest Verizon’s motives aren’t about security as much as they’re about money. It’s a tough accusation to swing, but some are saying Verizon is using the secure element excuse to mask the fact that it doesn’t want Google Wallet without getting a cut of the revenue from it. This is something we’d only be able to confirm if we were sitting in on those top-secret board meetings ourselves so we can’t say for sure either way, but the fact of the matter is that Verizon’s hand is not being forced by ISIS in the matter.
For consumers’ sake we hope recent FCC complaints will shake the tree a little bit in getting to the bottom of this story, but Verizon’s stance hasn’t changed since they responded to that initial letter, and that’s all we have until further notice. Would you believe Verizon’s blocking access to the secure element for genuine security reasons or do you think there is something more to this cloudy story? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
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Please visit www.paywithisis.com at your convenience to log into your Isis Account and set up your Security Question and Answer. This is important if you ever lose your phone or forget your Isis Password. (You can also complete this from the Settings option in the Wallet Menu on your phone.)
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