Feuding between the leading mobile-telecommunications carrier and Google Inc. over mobile wallets broke into the open this week with reports that Verizon Wireless would block the Google Wallet application from being installed on the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus smart phone.

Verizon Wireless denied such reports, but a statement it issued and one from Google seem to indicate that the Google Wallet application won’t be available on the Galaxy Nexus phone when Verizon Wireless starts selling it, possibly as soon as this month. Google developed the phone with Samsung Electronics Co. and it runs Google’s Android operating system, now the most popular platform for smart phones. It is also one of the few smart phone models available with near-field communication (NFC) capability, a key technology for Google Wallet and other contactless mobile payment programs.

Mobile-payments consultant Todd Ablowitz, president of Centennial, Colo.-based Double Diamond Group, sees Verizon Wireless’s statement as making “a distinction without a difference.”

“They’re not saying that they won’t allow the Google Wallet, they’re saying they’re concerned about the hardware piece,” he says. “The reality is that with 2011 technology, without the hardware secure element you cannot have a fully functioning Google Wallet. Therefore by arguing about the hardware, Verizon Wireless is trying to make it that Google Wallet cannot be on their network.”

Digital Transactions, December 6, 2011
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