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Verizon says it won't allow Google Wallet because it uses NFC

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Verizon says it won't allow Google Wallet because it uses NFC
Okay, obviously that's not the official reason given by Verizon, but essentially, it's the truth. Verizon responded to an FCC complaint about Google Wallet not being allowed on Verizon devices. The official reason doesn't mention NFC, but we'll sort through the response for you.

Google Wallet launched over a year ago, and has yet to make it onto any Verizon handsets, despite updates to make it more secure. Verizon claims that it isn't "blocking" the app, although it won't show in the Google Play Store for Verizon users, and doesn't come preloaded on any devices. The FCC stepped in to
Verizon says it won't allow Google Wallet because it uses NFC
question Verizon about the claims that the company was blocking the app, and Verizon responded to a customer complaint about the issue (full letter to the right). 

Verizon's response was that, while it isn't "blocking" the app (even though it is), if it were, the reason would be because Google Wallet requires access to a "secure element" which isn't available on all handsets. And, if Google were to remove this requirement, then the app would be free to be installed on Verizon devices, much like other mobile payment apps Square or PayPal.

Of course, that "secure element" is the NFC chip found in certain handsets. You know, the NFC chip that makes Google Wallet useful, and separates it from the competition like Square and PayPal. Although, it is similar to one competitor: Verizon-backed Isis, which uses NFC-enabled SIM cards for tap-to-pay transactions. 

So, the official reason why Verizon isn't allowing Google Wallet is because it requires interaction with a "secure element" (aka NFC-chip), and that secure element isn't available on all Verizon handsets. Following this logic, Verizon will have to be careful when Isis is launched on the network (currently it is only testing on T-Mobile), and not allow any users to download and install Isis, until everyone on the entire network has an NFC-enabled SIM card, or else the company would look quite hypocritical. 

source: XDA via Droid Life

43 Comments
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posted on 10 Dec 2012, 16:47 16

1. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


Ah, go to hell, Verizon.
Google should kick the carriers around a little, starting with Verizon.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 16:54 10

5. D.Aceveda (Posts: 359; Member since: 30 Jun 2012)


Take a walk Verizon. Take a walk

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 16:51 14

2. downphoenix (Posts: 2287; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


actually they will look hypocritical even if they do limit Isis to compatible devices, because they would still be excluding Google Wallet. I hope the FCC continues to school their greedy ways.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 16:53 12

3. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2657; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Good point, let me edit that.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 16:54 7

4. PapaSmurf (Posts: 7668; Member since: 14 May 2012)


Why is it that Verizon is the carrier that seems to have the most "problems" when it comes to apps? I really do feel sorry for the GNex users on Verizon who can't use GW.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 16:59 3

6. Non_Sequitur (Posts: 1111; Member since: 16 Mar 2012)


They can. Go to xda. :)
However, for the average user, this is very crippling to Google. Verizon is (somehow) the largest carrier, so yeah...

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:32 4

13. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2657; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Verizon is the largest because for a long time it was the only option for wireless in rural areas. And, in many rural areas it's still the only option for cable and wired, so people get Verizon for the package deals.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:04 2

7. wendygarett (unregistered)


Now I know why nfc never be that popular, another reason to blame lol

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:11 5

8. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2384; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)


theres nothing wrong with NFC wendy it is very useful and actually quite genius......if anything theres somthing wrong with verizon!.......here at least

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:26 5

10. wendygarett (unregistered)


That's why I'm say another reason to blame company who didn't appreciate the power of nfc such as vzw...

Sorry again for my bad English lol...

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:51 3

18. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2384; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)


ok....lol....ok.........no this time I'M sorry, I see what you were saying now.....forgive me for saying this but i dont think you've built up that reputation yet to where people REALLY see your side of the coin.........

in other words, try and be more "specific" so people wont get CONFUSED with you all the time......sound good?

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 18:26 1

25. lyndon420 (Posts: 1708; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


Yeah...she/it seems to gravitate back and forth all the time which makes it hard to figure what team she/it is playing for...lol.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 19:14

30. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


End of the day she loves and prides cherishes Apple more than Android, tho she sides on both and tries to be fair

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 18:41

27. wendygarett (unregistered)


Yup, sound good to me :)
Shouldn't skip English lesson tho lol

posted on 17 Dec 2012, 08:40

43. true1984 (Posts: 586; Member since: 23 May 2012)


is that because the iphone doesnt have nfc?

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:17 10

9. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3294; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Google is too much of a pushover. Apple doesn't allow the carriers to butcher their phones and strip out features so I don't see why Google can't step in and do the same. Google is being too lax with them.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:26 3

11. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2384; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)


oooo yea we should all be like the mighty and all powerful apple.....and your reason is specifically why apple is going under and why Google is rising........the question begs itself, when are YOU going to wake up?

THE ONLY thing apple and verizon have in common is GREED!

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 18:02

21. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 3294; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


If Google is rising then how come they keep getting beaten by the carriers with incidents such as this one?

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 18:13 3

22. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2384; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)


does that mean they are "losing" though? yes if the big picture is to "control" everything, like what your beloved company and carrier is doing, and no if the big picture is what its always been with Google, FREEDOM!.......just cause you dont own ONE place in a monopoly game doesnt mean you are going to LOSE the game!

Yes verizon is the largest carrier, THAT IS A FACT, but Googles aim is, ONCE AGAIN, not to control everyone and EVERYTHING........verizon is a greedy carrier and feels that every one has to bow down to them, which is the same mindset that Apple has, which is why i said they are GOING UNDER......why because Pride and arrogance has gone on LONG enough with these companies, and its time for consumers to reap the benefits of good business not business controlled and monitored....

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 18:14

23. alouden (Posts: 188; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


I think a middle ground would be better. You know, somewhere between Google bending to Verizon's will and Apple stifling competition and innovation.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 18:25 1

24. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2384; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)


why should Google bend to verizons will?? I think Googles mindset, is where the world needs to be more so than what verizon wants! (control)

Verizon needs to loosen up a bit or they too will find themselves in a bad predicament!

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 21:33 2

32. alouden (Posts: 188; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


I could have phrased that better. I am not suggesting total submission to Verizon. But I could see if a carrier had legitimate concerns. And for the record, the locked bootloader is NOT a legitimate concern. Nor are their efforts to block google wallet. I dislike Verizon and that dislike has grown over the years, although I have their service (family plan, unfortunately). I sometimes think Verizon forgets that we actually own the phone. I pay the subsidized price and pay off the remaining cost over my two-year contract.

You are right: Verizon needs to chill out. Why is it they are the only provider on the planet insisting on a locked bootloader? Why no access to Google wallet? Their explanations are a joke. So my solution is to root any verizon smartphone I own. If I want a feature on my phone, I will put it on my phone.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 18:00 1

20. Whateverman (Posts: 3187; Member since: 17 May 2009)


For once... I actually agree with something you wrote. All Nexus devices should be pure, but some how VZW is the only carrier that managed to water their version down. Google in the very honorable pursuit to not be evil, really does allow OEM's and carriers like VZW to dump all over their product. It would do them good to stand up to the carriers...like Apple does.

posted on 11 Dec 2012, 00:55 1

37. MeoCao (unregistered)


Android is free ecosystem so Google can't do everything. iOS is Apple's dictatorship so it has free hand.

Sometimes democracy is not as effective as dictatorship!

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:31

12. Heretic (Posts: 16; Member since: 12 Jun 2012)


I went to download google wallet from google play to see what happens. This is what happens.

"This app is incompatible with your HTC ADR6410LVW."

By the way, my phone has NFC.

Shame on you VZW!

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:35 7

15. Sailingmaster (Posts: 24; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)


Wouldn't it be nice if the Google Play Store's error came back with the correct information?

"This app is incompatible with your carrier's myopic need for control."

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:33 4

14. Sailingmaster (Posts: 24; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)


Verizon hasn't come to grips with the simple fact that it's not the #1 carrier in the #1 market anymore. It's the #1 carrier in the #3 market. And, while Val Kilmer may say, "my hypocrisy only goes so far," Verizon Wireless has no such scruples. Europe and China are the biggest markets for smartphones and related services, and Big Red becomes less relevant with each passing fiscal quarter. This whole "I do what I want" attitude towards manufacturers and customers will eventually come back to haunt them.

posted on 11 Dec 2012, 17:23 1

41. lsutigers (Posts: 708; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)


As a Verizon customer I agree, this attitude of total control and screw the customer will catch up to then, hopefully sooner than later.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:38 3

16. letgomyeggroll (Posts: 137; Member since: 13 Jun 2012)


MXYZPTK, there is nothing to strip from Apple' devices. It doesnt have NFC, and if it does strip anything from from the IPhone, than it won't be a smartphone. You see Iphone dont have anything unique but the IOS itself. It's a very basic smart phone for basic user that just wants to pull out the box and use it and listen to music.

Apple is the push over, it wont aloud carriers to sell their IPhone unless its on their terms, and they wont even let their service techs troubleshoot the phone. Which most of the time its swapping parts. And with all the patents that they are trying to claim. So who is the push over?

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:48 4

17. dorianb (Posts: 352; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


It's bluetooth all over again Verizon. Tell me when the class action starts.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 17:57 1

19. talon95 (Posts: 61; Member since: 31 Jul 2012)


My Gnex verizon phone has google wallet, it also has android 4.2.1, free tethering and unlimited data. If it didn't I wouldn't be with Verizon. Google could push some weight around but consumers need send a message with their own wallets that carriers can't ignore, and if you can't do that then send an email once a day. Meanwhile, root and enjoy what you should have anyways, it's pretty much illegal for them to provide you anything less, they'd be breaking the terms of their spectrum contracts.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 18:29 1

26. MC1123 (Posts: 1236; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


whats wrong with NFC? are they pulling an apple?

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 18:41

28. lolioslol (banned) (Posts: 182; Member since: 10 Dec 2012)


"Okay, obviously that's not the official reason given by Verizon, but essentially, it's the truth."

WOW, speculation and personal theories. How is this guy a journalist?

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 18:47 1

29. iDroidx650 (Posts: 72; Member since: 26 May 2010)


Yet samsung's tectiles app is allowed and sold through retail stores.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 21:15 1

31. squeeb (Posts: 99; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)


And this is why owning a gnex on big red is a complete joke. They completely destroy the whole point of the nexus line. Glad I ditched my cdma nexus and got an unlocked one.

Happily running stock 4.2.1 :)

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 22:05 1

33. networkdood (Posts: 6260; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


It is possible that Verizon does not allow NFC because it wants to implement its own sort of wallet structure:

http://www.paywithisis.com/get-isis.xhtml

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 22:06

34. networkdood (Posts: 6260; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


There, phonearena, I did the research for you - put two and two together and you will figure out the rest.

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 22:24 1

35. tigermcm (Posts: 686; Member since: 02 Sep 2009)


I assume this is the same for Wallet on WP8 right?

posted on 10 Dec 2012, 23:53

36. molanjames (Posts: 64; Member since: 11 Oct 2012)


What in thehneck is a “secure element?”

Is that just NFC?

If so, is Verizon really asking Google to not use NFC in their NFC app?

posted on 11 Dec 2012, 13:02

40. alouden (Posts: 188; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


That's they way it sounds to me too.

posted on 11 Dec 2012, 02:54

38. iDroidWin (Posts: 117; Member since: 07 Dec 2012)


Rumors are 5S will be coming with NFC. Let's see what will be there reaction when they will sell 5S on contract. Hypocrisy.

posted on 11 Dec 2012, 12:52

39. dsmboost (Posts: 43; Member since: 01 Nov 2011)


NFC and secure element are two different things. Not all NFC-equipped phones have a secure element.

posted on 11 Dec 2012, 18:14 1

42. MAXXtreme007 (Posts: 22; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)


I think that Google/OEM manufaturers ought to refuse to have the carriers put their bloat/crapware onto the phone. Apple doesn't allow anything reminiscent of ANY other company and Google should too. It is just an absolute shame that the Galaxy Nexus receives the latest updates months and months after it is released. And the root community generally has a ROM all ready within a couple weeks at the very most.
I have a Verizon SGS3 and still haven't received a single official update. It would be horrible if I had to rely on Verizon but I have had Jelly Bean on mine for months now. So Google/OEM manufacturers ought to force the carriers to not allow any sort of bloat and also to push the update ASAP. This would result in a better phone for all and happier customers!

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