Nearly two years have passed and nothing has been resolved regarding the potentially illegal blocking of Google Wallet by Verizon for phones on their network. In December of 2011, we shared that Verizon forced Google not to include Google Wallet on the Verizon version of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. At the time, Verizon claimed the reason was because Google Wallet presented a security issue that Verizon wasn't comfortable with. Industry speculation suggested the real reason because Verizon didn't want Google Wallet competing for consumers' attention on their phones because they were launching their own mobile payment system called ISIS.
Things didn't progress very quickly beyond that. In December of 2012 (a full year later), we wrote a follow-up article in which more details were laid out. Verizon responded to the complaints by claiming Google Wallet was a security risk because it needed direct access to the secure element of the device. This was pointed out by several folks in the industry as blatant hypocrisy because Verizon's own ISIS payment app also requires the same access to the secure element of the device.
Several C Block violation complaints with the FCC have been filed accusing Verizon of blocking Google Wallet, yet five months later almost nothing has been resolved. Now Verizon is simply sticking to its guns and refuses to change their stance on the issue. In fact, they recently sent a response to the FCC claiming ”Verizon Wireless does not block applications.” What is really sneaky about this is that it is "technically" true. Verizon didn't block the application from being on their device. Instead they insisted that Google block the application. Ultimately, it obviously boils down to the same thing, and should be investigated by the FCC, but for some reason they are dragging their feet on this issue.
Ironically, neither Google Wallet nor ISIS have really "taken off" as a heavily used alternative payment method. Perhaps NFC device payments, as a concept, is still a bit ahead of its time. Additionally, there are workarounds which can get Google Wallet side-loaded onto VZW phones. Still, for the few users whom this affects, it is an issue that needs to be addressed. Also, eventually, mobile payments will start to become the norm, and this issue will need to be resolved anyway. Share your thoughts.