Dec 06 AT 3:27 PM Dustin Earley 107 Comments

Verizon isn’t blocking Google Wallet, it’s a different kind of app


After the outcry of emotions in response to Verizon’s decision to keep Google Wallet away from the Galaxy Nexus, Big Red has come forward with a statement that kind-of sort-of sets the record straight.

According to the statement, the first thing that needs to be kept in mind is that “Verizon does not block applications.” At least not normal applications.

Recent reports that Verizon is blocking Google Wallet on our devices are false. Verizon does not block applications.

Google Wallet is different from other widely-available m-commerce services. Google Wallet does not simply access the operating system and basic hardware of our phones like thousands of other applications. Instead, in order to work as architected by Google, Google Wallet needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element in our phones.

We are continuing our commercial discussions with Google on this issue.VerizonStatement on Google Wallet

The one keyword to pay attention to in the statement is secure. It appears that Verizon is going to be initially holding off on Google Wallet due to security concerns. Of course, Google didn’t mention this in any of the statements they’ve released on they subject, but it is a very valid concern for carriers. Especially when your customers’ pocket books are on the line.

So are Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile all keeping Google Wallet off their Nexus devices because of security concerns? Or does it have more to do with ISIS than Verizon is letting on? Whether it will ever be said or not, there’s a good chance it has quite a bit to do with both.

There’s no getting around the fact that Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile all have a hand in ISIS and NFC payments. And Google Wallet is a direct competitor. Plain and simple. Security is a very valid concern, but it’s also a very valid excuse. Can’t you see it now? Verizon doesn’t have the same kind of security questions with ISIS as they do with Google Wallet, because they’ve worked so closely with ISIS. Who, again, just so happens to be a direct competitor to the app they aren’t initially allowing on their phone.

It’s possible that the entire situation is being blown out of proportion at this point, but there’s a lot of questions under the surface that could seriously impact the way mobile freedom plays out down the road. As the Verizon issued statement says, they are still in talks with Google. Meaning this thing is far from over.

Source: DroidLife

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • Nate B.

    They should of kept their mouths shut because that was a really dumb excuse. Hardware? Are you serious. Google committed suicide with this exclusive bs

    • thunsaker

      This is getting really obnoxious. I want a Galaxy Nexus and can’t get one (unless I want to import one and shell out a cool $700+). :(

      • Alex

        You’re probably better off buying a Galaxy SII and waiting for Cyanogenmod 9 at this point; it may even be out before the Nexus

    • BiGMERF

      so let me get this straight they are quick to issue a statement about this but not say anything about the release date?!

      • Nathan D.

        Can I say dam 100 what hell you been doing :O

        • james bricknell

          he’s been the most active and public supporter for androidandme for 2 years.

      • james bricknell


        • kevin charliethesuperturtle

          I’m only 5 points off :(

    • SCJaredJ

      I’m guessing the security concerns are regarding Verizon and ISIS’s “wallet” and not about google wallet.

    • faun

      I don’t know… Perhaps Google simply hasn’t properly integrated Wallet for the Nexus Galaxy yet? I mean Wallet isn’t available on phones outside of the US, so the international Nexus doesn’t have it and there would therefore have been no benefit to prioritizing this feature before the US launch.

      Knowing Google and the delays that often happen when trying to roll out new versions of Android – even to their own Nexus hardware – I wouldn’t be shocked if they simply haven’t gotten around to doing it yet, and a software update will happen some time after the launch to enable it.

      • LukeT32

        Agreed and agreed.

        As of right now what stops someone with an NFC scanner walking up to you and reading your phone? Sounds easier then pick pocketing, but with the same result. Just like my droid going into dock mode everytime I walk to close to a magnet…….

    • B2L

      If only they would’ve just stuck with T-Mobile like they did with the other Nexus devices. With this launch, I highly doubt Verizon will get another Nexus exclusive. They probably won’t even get another Nexus device.

      • RedBehrend

        Is it me or does Verizon screw up every exclusive launch they get?
        -Sent Phones Early
        -Sent Phones Late
        -Missing Items

    • Sean the Electrofreak

      Yep, I said it from the start and I’ll say it again now… the decision to go exclusive with a Nexus device is a BAD idea.

  • T.C.

    Hmmmm……Verizon is backing ISIS, and is “blocking” Google Wallet for our safety…….not sure I’m buying that. Ole Big Red sticking it to us again. How long until we just say “Thank you, may I have another”.

  • goncalossilva

    If these are *only* security concerns, then it would make more sense to make it optional… users could just opt-in and take the risk, whatever that is.

  • Sean Riley

    Very funny Verizon. Saying you don’t block applications is like saying you aren’t guilty for ordering a hitman to take someone out. You are having Google do it which is exactly the same thing.

    Thanks though, it’s BS like this that assuages any guilt I might feel over tethering my rooted phone on your network.

    • Futureboy

      Dig you, Sean, for busting out a fancy $10 word! (assuages). I learned something today. I learned to not read too fast or you might accidentally read a word like “assuages” as “ass sausages,” which, if I’m not mistaken can be found on Urban Dictionary with the definition of: Verizon upper management.

      • Anon

        Thanks for the laugh. I totally agree.

      • Sean Riley

        Ha, glad you approve.

        You should definitely add that definition for “ass sausages” to Urban Dictionary, if it is not there already, and I will happily vote it up.

      • Shannon

        That’s good comedy!

  • YellowDucati

    Verizon should run for public office. They are getting good at dishing out the crap.

    • stenzor

      oh snap!

  • Briareos

    IIRC, Google Wallet was supposed to integrate with NFC-equipped phones. Is that what they’re talking about here?

  • ArticulateFool

    Gotta love these spins.

    Verizon, How about letting your users make their own decisions about what is secure and what isn’t.

    • Vickie

      Carriers ignoring security will get them in deep crap, have you already forgotten ask the crap other carriers are getting over carrieriq? That being said, this does sound likea convenient excuse given that they have a competing service of their own.


    Sad part, the normal customer will fall for this garbage

    • Alex

      Pretty much Apple’s entire business philosophy right there

  • james bricknell

    how can the galaxy nexus not be “specific hardware” it clearly was designed with wallet in mind..

    • stenzor

      because bullshit

    • xsynth

      Those were my exact thoughts

    • John Walker

      Are you sure about that? Just because it has NFC doesn’t mean it was designed with Google Wallet in mind. NFC is there for other things, like the Android Beam feature, and didn’t iFixit determine that NFC was just a sticker on the battery on the Nexus? I’m not sure how it is incorporated into the Nexus S. Another thing to remember, is only the Sprint version of the Nexus S has Google Wallet, how many people were up in arms over T-Mobile not getting it?

  • CJ LaFleur

    this is just rubbing salt in the wound at this point. I’m fed up with this and the lack of google wallet is the breaking point! i will be driving to montreal to get my galaxy nexus. it’s worth the five + hr drive! this way, i just get a pure nexus device, no hastle, no bulls***.

  • CJ LaFleur

    vzw and google have embarrassed themselves enough. this is the final embarrassment.

  • Chad

    I love how companies like Verizon treat customers more like children than customers, WE are buying the products, WE are buying the service, let us make our own decisions on what we feel we want and do not want on that product and/or service. It’s called choice and everyone who is paying Verizon and every other wireless company money out of their pockets on a monthly basis is entitled to it.

  • dl22

    I am scared to say this here, but I think Apple is the only company that can make NFC payments mainstream.

    People just won’t understand it until Apple calls it “magic”.

    • james bricknell

      i fear you maybe right…

    • Kaote

      You are correct, until then it will be the “geek” factor that uses NFC.

    • stenzor

      Money goes in, money goes out.. you can’t explain that

      • Kaote

        It’s just magic, it works.

    • Omgdracula

      Nfc is Android exclusive.

  • sublimnl

    Ugh, I just hope we dont end up with a completely different system here in the US compared to the EU and Australia. I travel to both often and its already a pain in my ass that none of my credit/debit cards have chips in them. Now this. I hate the carrier BS here in the States!!! FCC or someone needs to bitchslap these companies into acting right.

  • seven2k

    Lame ass excuse..VZ full of crap

  • zyphbear

    I honestly think that unless they ‘BLOCK’ the app, people will find a way to make it work since it will still have NFC (aka Beam) in the devices.
    Though at this point, Google has already got the NFC payments off the ground and if more phones would just support it, people would be using it all Holiday Season, and everyone needs more spending, right?
    I think it should just be up to the customer, that’s fine if you don’t pre-install it like the Nexus S, but lets customer’s choose if they want to install it and use the service, don’t control choice. Personally, I like the way that Google Wallet puts the payments and coupons and offers all together with Loyalty cards and have stores that are already taking it all. If ISIS wants to introduce another one, that’s fine, but let the customer choose which one they are going with based off the merchants they use.
    Personally, if Google Wallet offers certain stores, and ISIS offers certain stores, then I might use both. But I prefer being able to use the Google System and not have to open a new account with more personal information laying about.

  • anon

    I think Verizon has a personal issue with the nexus line and google is letting them hack away at it to get on the network. Hopefully AT&T gets the next nexus.

  • anon

    So, how can we hurt Verizon without damaging the Nexus line?

    • Kaote

      Stop buying anything DROID branded.

    • Scotter

      Use another carrier. I feel the same way about Verizon. Always have. Refuse to give them my money and tell all my friends to go with T-Mobile and if you can’t go with Sprint. Same with Samsuck. They under-built the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus so I held on to my HTC Nexus One and finally gave in and got the HTC Amaze.

  • Joakim E

    Security is always about Trust.

    So ask yourself …

    Who do you trust more?
    Verizon or Google to do the right thing?

    Yeah, thought so, I too trust Google far more than Verizon.

  • oddball

    Verizon is making this a farce. Now they are “not blocking” Google wallet the same way they “don’t block” tethering apps.

  • the5thdimension

    Smells like a whole lotta BULLSHIT!

    And just when I thought this whole debacle couldn’t get any worse…

  • nwilliam3

    There is no security risk with Google Wallet, the real issue is about control and limiting competition. Verizon and the other carriers want a NFC model that has the carries controlling the security element. Google’s model has Google controlling the security element and Verizon is getting pissy about it.

    In the end this is all about Verizon limiting competition around the holidays. They never really wanted the Nexus, they just didn’t want any other carriers offering it, especially during the holidays. They bought it and put it on the self, so that they could maximize the sales of the crapware filled Razr and Resound.

  • Kevin Amundson

    The whole point of the Nexus line of phones was pure Android. A true Google Experience. By preventing the use of Google Wallet, the Galaxy Nexus will not be a true Nexus. Hopefully Google isn’t going to let Verizon have an exclusive for too long. I wouldn’t want the Unlocked Galaxy Nexus to be the only phone with Google Wallet.

  • Paul

    I think the more important phrase to pay attention to in Verizon’s response is “commercial discussions”. I’d be willing to bet that Verizon wants a cut of the transaction fees.

  • Joel

    This comment from Verizon sounds like a non-answer to me, or purposely obtuse so as to avoid the question.

    “Google Wallet is different from other widely-available m-commerce services. Google Wallet does not simply access the operating system and basic hardware of our phones like thousands of other applications.”

    This is true. It requires the phone is NFC equipped. So in essence, it is true that you are not blocking Google Wallet on phones that are not equipped with NFC

    “Instead, in order to work as architected by Google, Google Wallet needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element in our phones.”

    Yes, that is what NFC is, a new, secure, proprietary hardware element. The Galaxy Nexus has this. Why is Google Wallet not available on the Galaxy Nexus?

    “We are continuing our commercial discussions with Google on this issue.”

    Oh, I see.

  • TimG

    Take this exact scenario and apply it to another class of technology and ask yourself what would happen. If Microsoft had arbitrarily decided to somehow block access to Paypal with some lame excuse about it being “best for the customer”, and yet built in access to web payments via it’s browser to banks that it had cozy business relationships with — how quickly would the justice department be breathing down MS’s neck? Heck, the EU would have fined MS three times before MS could even reconsider it’s position. Yet somehow it’s acceptable for mobile network carriers to limit consumer options and dictate consumer choices to owners of what are essentially, small computers that you carry around in your pocket. I really hope that some legal authority makes it clear at some point that anti-competitive behavior is unacceptable in mobile computing, just as it is in traditional computing.

    • The Truth Squad

      Microsoft does not pay $500 towards the purchase of your computer like Verizon does and Microsoft does not have a network to protect. I don’t agree with what Verizon is doing but you are comparing apples to oranges. If you don’t like Verizon’s policies, go somewhere else. You can not do that with Windows so your argument is invalid.

      • james bricknell

        verizon dont pay $500 for the phone either. they get them for about $150 – $180 they make money off you every which way.

      • TimG

        The “subsidy” is a myth, plain and simple. If you look at BOM reports (bill of materials) most smartphone’s component costs come in below $300. So yeah, it’s true that “unlocked” phones cost consumers upwards of $700 or $800, but that’s a price that’s at about 250% of materials cost. And don’t give me BS about “research and development costs” etc, there’s no way billions of dollars of R&D are going into each incremental improvement in each handset. If profit margins on these devices were as slim as the carriers and device manufactures would have you believe, then why would there be so many players in the handset game? Not all of them can hope to operate on sheer volume to make a profit. Carriers being the gateway to hardware is a racket, and when those carriers then dictate to you how you use the hardware (ie, not allowing apps that compete with their own for-profit services/apps) it’s even more of a racket.

  • Billy

    I was looking for a release date somewhere in there … still missing that announcement. Hah!

  • thekaz

    Not to defend Verizon, but… us it possible they didn’t want to delay release YET AGAIN to address their security concerns..?

  • Tangent

    Ever since I was able to directly compare my wife’s T-Mobile Motorola Razr with my work Verizon Razr, I just don’t trust Verizon to not block apps. My wife’s Razr was a piece of cake to upload mp3 ringtones and pics to use as wallpaper to. The Verizon version not only was missing several features entirely, but unless you paid for their VCast service it was difficult at best to add your own ringtones and wallpapers…

    • thekaz

      Really? Aren’t there apps to create ringtones?

  • Joe Nicholson

    I can’t wait to move to Sprint.

  • Gr8gorilla

    Remember, unlock bootloader, do what you want. Google Wallet, Tether, etc. That is the real purpose of a Nexus device. Everyone complains without thinking……..

  • Nathan D.

    Well Verizon love to say BS to the public, other do it to, of not new but we unfortunately have to dell with this.

  • Homncruse

    Uh huh… right. Specific hardware. Because Verizon is responsible for so much of the phone’s hardware, especially in a Nexus phone.

    They may as well have blamed goblins. Nobody likes goblins.

    • james bricknell

      haha best comment in this thread. :D

  • dnar56

    They “don’t block apps.” What happened to wifi tether?

  • myandroid99

    “different kind of app”

  • Joshua Melling

    Ill just root mine and install Google wallet anyhow! (when the time comes)

  • ramenchef

    To be fair, Verizon had a commitment to ISIS way before the Galaxy Nexus was even announced. Not sure why everyone is blaming Verizon when ISIS came before the SGN.

  • Ilyse Rose

    I always thought it was a Sprint thing rather than a security thing.

  • Luke Haviland

    google is way more responsible than verizon, their just trying to make themselves look like they care about privacy

  • Louis Atu

    I am sure what will happen I buy this phone is I will sell as soon as a better google phone experience comes to market. This whole is really ridiculous

  • humidity

    They don’t block apps? What about wifi tethering apps?

  • malckier

    This was disappointing of course. I’m torn whether to get this device that I’ve been waiting so long for, or to wait until it’s soaked in the US market. There’s a lot of “newness” here that makes me wary, too. New OS, new hardware, new features. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I need to wait and risk stores being sold out until the new year.

  • AndyE

    All i heard in this whole post was that Tmo is getting the Gnex.

  • Peter Dowling

    Well there goes my desire for the Galaxy Nexus, RAZR keeps looking sexier and sexier

  • jst4tim

    VZW always want to be in control but this was a bad move.

  • AndyNguyen362

    Dang where’s the release date?

  • RootMe

    Well that is just a lot or the damage control from Verizon after the outcry. But some their claims are just like you have all stated above.

  • psipher

    I’m guessing VZW is going to drag their feet on allowing Google Wallet until ISIS is off the ground.
    …or they could also be trying to get Google to pay a fee for each transaction that they process thru their cell network; sorta like they way merchants get charged a fee for each debit/credit card transaction.

  • Kavman

    Until we see Google Wallet outside of the USA I would have to think that is is going to die a slow death no matter what part Verizon play.

  • Tapper8605

    I mean what will their argument be when they are using ISIS vs. Google Wallet? ISIS is more secure than Google? I think that’s a pretty hard sell to make and people will see through it. I think they are masking this issue under concerns of security while they try to strike a deal with Google if they haven’t already. This is what happens when you hop in the sack and give a carrier like Verizon exclusive rights to your flagship phone.

  • dfmckay

    Everyone wants to control mobile payments, this is the major problem with mobile companies and such because its new to them. Whichever system that can leach into the banks will be the winner unfortunately.

  • levelm

    I’m almost positive they also blocked my “Sling Player” app at one point in time.

  • e36bmer

    Why has google time and time again, chosen a failed launch model for their phones? They need to hire someone to market and launch their Nexus phones properly.

  • e36bmer

    ….and on that note. People line up for the iPhone launches. But, heck, I can’t even line up for a Nexus launch if I wanted to. I have no idea when the thing will actually launch. I’ve wanted this phone for months. But, Google is really trying to talk me out of it. No google wallet, added Verizon apps, stop this blasphemy!

  • MJM128

    Doesn’t sound legit. I want my $10 google wallet stuff!

  • gorwin

    Well if I win one of these tegra tablets, I’ll call up my buddies in Verizon and tell them whats up about google wallet, and the Galaxy Nexus will get an OTA with it.

  • Sathariel

    Even though it’s complete BS that Verzion is doing this and I agree with most of the comments made here, at the end of the day when this phone is released the majority of us complaining will still be getting it myself included. =/

  • donger

    verizon why?? I mean how could you?

  • eyesparky

    Seems like a happy game of semantics to avoid breaching fair trading rules. I thought the security was baked into the hardware on the Galaxy Nexus, as in the tamper proof chip etc.

  • mrbill187

    this is nonsense, verizon is meddling with what was supposed to be a pure google experience phone. google needs to put its foot down with these carriers. we want a dumbpipe, not your silly VZW branded apps and logos splattered on everything.

  • Torrance Barber

    There’s always something going on with Verizon

  • dpleus

    I love how corporations are great at saying things without saying anything. We know that Verizon blocks access to apps on the Android Marketplace, e.g. tethering apps, and then to say it’s a hardware issue when its software that they are not allowing to be installed. And if these NFC payment systems require secure hardware, how is Verizon’s ISIS solution going to overcome the same hardware security issues?

    As I’m not an Apple fan, but I have to give them credit for being able to get the same device out on all carriers, with as far as I can tell, no changes to their design of the hardware or software on the device. And since I have not seen a lot of Win7 Phones, all I can do is guess, but it appears that they don’t appear to be any different carrier to carrier either.

    I think if device manufacturers need to take a stand against carrier interference with their equipment, and Google needs to take a stand on it’s OS designs. Consistency I think would result in a happy consumer base.

    • Dan Jones

      “As I’m not an Apple fan, but I have to give them credit for being able to get the same device out on all carriers”

      I don’t see how that’s a positive thing at all. Apple forcing the carriers to bend to their will is just typical Apple behavior. They won’t even let them put the carrier name on the phone, like nearly every other phone! But since everyone wants an iPhone (or so they think), the carriers give in to their demands.

      “And since I have not seen a lot of Win7 Phones, all I can do is guess, but it appears that they don’t appear to be any different carrier to carrier either.”

      I haven’t seen many Win7 phones either, but I’d be surprised if that’s the case. Previous WinMo phones where frequently customized by handset manufacturers and carriers. In fact, HTC’s Sense UI was a WinMo interface before it was an Android interface.

      “Consistency I think would result in a happy consumer base.”
      I disagree. I think what the market needs is more variety, not more homogeny. That’s one of the things that makes Android such an appealing platform. It’s like a potato. It can be mashed, baked, au gratin, french fries, etc.

  • Nicholas Vettese

    If I am purchasing a Nexus phone, it is because I want the full Google Experience. Not the Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, etc… Experience, but the Google Experience. Just because Verizon has partnered with other carriers to do what Google is doing, that is great, but make it an option for me.

  • RobBull75

    Verizon, keeping you safe from the Google boogeyman. Meanwhile, they load up their phones with bloat, causing them to perform poorly and have poor battery life, and pressure OEMs to lock down their devices to boot.

  • antfelici

    Just give the people what they want.

  • antfelici

    It just seems ridiculous to not have the Google Wallet on the Nexus.

  • honourbound68

    Can’t wait for sprint to get their version of the nexus. At least sprint is supporting google wallet

  • tobinandandroid

    This is the problem with US carriers. I am paying you for cellular service. I should not have to abide by the biases that you have towards other business ventures. If I buy a device (ESPECIALLY a Nexus device), I should have the freedom to choose how I use that technology. Offer both ISIS and Google Wallet, and I will decide which service works best for my needs. The carriers in the US are so scared of not making as much money as they possibly can that instead of giving us access to a mobile payment system that is already up and running, they restrict us from using it. The ISIS system isn’t even running yet! It’s like saying “my way or nothing at all,” but then saying “my way isn’t ready yet, so you can just wait, and still use nothing at all.” Cellular Service providers should be just that – service providers, not service restrictors. The auto dealership doesn’t tell me which gas I can buy, the mall doesn’t tell me which stores I can and can’t shop at, why should it be different for mobile?

  • http://None Javier Bastardo

    Different still means no pure Google experience, so no thanks!

  • jakymiwm

    Google Wallet was one of the main reasons I wanted to get the new Nexus!

  • lanza_david

    Oh Verizon, Verizon,Verizon, how much love and how much hate…