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Verizon denies blocking competitive Google Wallet

Not blocking – just don’t expect it to work

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Verizon Wireless has denied blocking its users from Google’s Wallet system, but has admitted that that its customers won’t be able to use the payment application anytime soon.

In a statement to The Register, Verizon stated categorically that the company does not block applications. However, in a line of thinking that seems tortuous at best, the company said that Google Wallet is not a normal application and therefore doesn’t count.

“Google Wallet is different from other widely-available m-commerce services,” a Verizon spokesman said. “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.”

Verizon currently has ongoing discussions with Google over including the payment system, which coincidentally competes with Verizon’s participation in the Isis payment system consortium with AT&T and T-Mobile, and Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express on the payments side. When The Register contacted Google, it responded with a simple statement:

“Verizon asked us not to include this functionality in the product," a Google spokesman said.

Other than that, Google is staying mum, apart from saying that it is happy that the Google Wallet system is a secure payment system. So far, only Sprint is supporting Google Wallet, with MasterCard the only major payment provider onboard.

“I see it as very suspect, particularly in light of the competing product,” Greg Sterling, senior analyst at Opus Research, told The Register.

“Sprint has a phone using Google’s system with no security concerns, so there doesn’t seem to be any issue with security. I can’t see Verizon being able to block Google Wallet indefinitely. A regulator will have to step in.” ®

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