Greedy Carriers Turn Google Wallet Into a Lost Dream

T-Mobile has confirmed that it too will be blocking use of Google Wallet on its branded Android devices in an effort to bolster its own supported industry payment standard.

The move, which was confirmed by T-Mobile USA in a message on the company’s Twitter account, finally removes some of the mystery that had surrounded Google Wallet for users on the carrier. The message which read, “Were support ISIS, the wireless payment standard for mobile devices” came as reply to a message from a Twitter user who had asked for a comment on why Samsung Mobile USA had indicated that either Google or T-Mobile itself was blocking Google Wallet from working on his Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

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When confronted with the fact that the ISIS payment system currently only works in Salt Lake City, Utah and Austin, Texas T-Mobile went further, saying that if ISIS was a success it would “hopefully” expand its availability. It gave no time table on when that might happen.

T-Mobile’s confirmation makes it the second wireless carrier to actively prevent Google Wallet from working on its devices in an effort to bolster ISIS, behind Verizon. While ISIS does allow users to pay for purchases using the NFC communications chip built into most high-end smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2, as mentioned, it currently only operates in two-cities. While AT&T, Verizon and now T-Mobile are all supporting ISIS, a viable partner network for ISIS has yet to materialize, putting it way behind in development when compared to Google Wallet.

Read: ISIS Launching October 22 to Take on Google Wallet

The legal ramifications of three out of four largest carriers financing, creating and then effectively blocking competing wireless payment systems is still unclear, though it is clear that this has raised some informed user’s eyebrows.

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Verizon maintains that it only acted to limit Google Wallet because the application accessed secure functions of the hardware that the carrier wasn’t comfortable with.

For its part Sprint, the United States’ third-largest mobile carrier is not backing ISIS as a NFC payment yet. It does allow the use of Google Wallet on devices that support it.

Industry action may not be the only reason that Google Wallet has failed to catch. As the service requires the NFC chip inside of the user’s device to interact with an NFC reader at a retailer, support for Google Wallet and payment options like it hasn’t ballooned as quickly as some may have hoped. It’s also unclear if consumers understand that they have to have a device with a near field communications chip in order to use these kinds of systems.

Read: iPhone 5S Fingerprint Reader Production Details Rumored

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While many contemporary smartphones do have NFC, Apple’s iPhone devices don’t. The company’s Passbook application does allow users to do many of the same things, like store coupons and pay with giftcards. This solution means that retailers don’t have to install NFC readers in their locations, however they do have to release iOS applications that support the functionality. A version of Passbook that allows users to pay for all their purchases could be why the company is rumored to be including a fingerprint reader in its upcoming iPhone 5S.

Comments

  1. William Hugh Murray says

    The FCC sold us out. This is the worst possible kind of violation of net neutrality. Not only does it favor one application and source over another but blocks traffic that competes with the carrier.

  2. Vernon says

    Just make sure your phone is charged up, your in coverage, and you’ve paid your phone bill (likely with a traditional credit card) if you want to buy anything.

    Paper money, plastic, and coins don’t have these requisite requirements. It would be acquard if you went somewhere to buy something, and your phone wasn’t charged.

    Also, make sure if you sit down at a restaurant, be sure to ask for a server that doesn’t have sticky fingers, or drop and break phones between waiting on tables.

  3. Karl says

    I bought only unlocked phones from google the last several years and I would never buy a phone from a carrier again — so google wallet on tmobile works fine for me

  4. Sam N says

    Please, everyone, root your phones. Understand the risks and benefits, and if you feel it is worthwhile, take the leap. It will be the best thing you ever do for your phone. If the carriers realize that all they are doing by pushing ISIS is encouraging customers to break free from the jail cell they have created, they will be more likely to stop being monopolistic. With a rooted phone, you can do things they don’t want you to do, remove the crapware they have installed on your phone, and flash custom ROM’s, many of which give you the choice of much less restrictive UI’s. They do NOT want this.

    Their goal is force you to use their app, and the result is that NOBODY uses it and many people root their phones to use the competition. Eventually they will realize that this, coupled with extremely unhappy customers, is not good for their business.

    Take a look at ISIS on Google Play. Keeping in mind that there is no possible way to rate below 1 star (making 1 the minimum), how does ISIS fare?

    Let’s look at the biggest carrier’s version (Verizon).
    1.4 stars. With a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 5, that would be a percentage score of 10%. That’s so far below an F it’s embarrassing.
    596 out of 692 people rate it at 1 star. That means that 86% of everyone that rated it gave it the lowest possible rating.
    Let’s say that 1 and 2 star ratings are customers who are not satisfied, 3 star ratings are neutral, and 4 and 5 star ratings are customers who are satisfied. That would give ISIS a 9% customer satisfaction rating.
    Finally, read some of the comments. I dare you to try to find a page in the comments section in which Google Wallet is not mentioned multiple times. You won’t.

    How the **** does ISIS still exist? People want Google Wallet and they’re damn well going to get it, whether or not it means they have to take matters into their own hands and tell the money hungry carriers to **** off.

    I am using a rooted Galaxy S4 on Verizon, coming from a rooted S3 on Verizon, and would be more than happy to walk ANYONE through the process of rooting and getting Google Wallet working. Verizon can kiss my Big Red ass.

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