Fandroids are waiting to pounce on the Galaxy Nexus for Verizon Wireless, but the device apparently won’t support Google Wallet at launch. Why? The carrier has issued a statement explaining why the company has chosen to block the mobile payment app. Verizon seems to be questioning the security of Google Wallet while buying time for its own payment solution. (Update: Verizon now says it’s not blocking Google Wallet and is working with Google on the issue. See full statement below.)
“We’re working to provide expanded services that will provide the best security and user experience in the market around m-commerce,” Verizon wrote to us in an email this morning. “We expect to provide access to an open wallet when those goals are achieved.”
While disappointing, the news doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise. Verizon is one of the premier partners for the forthcoming NFC payment system called Isis, slated to launch in mid-2012. Big Red has already invested in the competing mobile payment system along with AT&T and T-Mobile, which employs the same Near Field Communication (NFC) technology as Wallet. Given that Verizon is the largest U.S. carrier, which would have brought 107 million subscribers to Google Wallet, the news could spell trouble for the search giant.
Reading into Verizon’s statement, it looks like Verizon believes that Google Wallet is not secure enough a solution for its customers, but we’re waiting for clarification.
The Galaxy Nexus will reportedly cost $299 on a two-year contract with Verizon. There is no official word on a launch date as of yet, but the phone is expected to land in the market sometime this month.
Update: Verizon has issued another statement about Google Wallet, which keeps the door open for Google Wallet showing up on Verizon devices eventually, if not the Galaxy Nexus.
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.