Verizon has been trying to justify their blocking of Google Wallet on Verizon phones
, insisting the app is blocked because Google Wallet uses the "secure element" on devices to store a user's Google ID. In response to complaints filed with the FCC, Verizon insists the unending blockade has nothing to do with the fact Verizon (in conjunction with AT&T and T-Mobile) is working on their own competing mobile payment platform named Isis.
That's obviously not true, and more than a few technology websites have noticed that Verizon's simply acting anti-competively by delaying Google Wallet just long enough to help their Isis platform catch up in development (even if it appears few are using it and many participating retailers have never heard of it
With Google Wallet on permanent vacation and Verizon lawyers playing faux-technical patty cake with the FCC, lo and behold Verizon's Isis Mobile Wallet app arrived this week, and is able to use the secure element with no problem or approval delay whatsoever
In the screenshots above, taken directly from the Isis Mobile Wallet app on a Verizon Galaxy S3, you can see mentions of the previously talked about “secure element.” In fact, the phone requirements for the app speak of this “secure element” as a “dedicated component in your phone” used to store payment cards and everything else needed to properly run a mobile payment app with NFC. Basically, that’s everything that they said was bad about Google Wallet, and that if Google removed this requirement, that its app could be used on Verizon phones.
For those who've been around this kind of behavior from Verizon is nothing new. You'll recall that initially Verizon blocked Google Maps from having access to their phones' GPS hardware, in order to give their own navigation software (and its monthly fee) a leg up. Verizon ultimately backed off after enough people realized Verizon was simply being an obnoxious ass, but it's clear that this kind of behavior is simply in Verizon's (and AT&T's) nature as duopolist gatekeepers.
You have to assume that Verizon will also cave here as this story gains traction, but by then Verizon's goal of delaying Google Wallet just long enough to give Isis a leg up will have already gained traction. One irony of course is that in conjunction with Verizon, Google worked to gut meaningful network neutrality rules
that would have prevented this very thing from happening on wireless networks.