Until just recently Google Wallet could only be used with NFC-enabled phones offered by Sprint, but AT&T customers can now also use Google’s competing mobile wallet on select devices.
Adding a second wireless carrier to support Google Wallet is a big step in the right direction for both Google and the adoption of mobile contactless payments in general. Although, AT&T’s decision to allow Google Wallet on their devices caught many by surprise, especially considering AT&T is a founding member of Isis, a competing mobile wallet they started with Verizon and T-Mobile, and neither of which currently supports Google Wallet.
Since launch Google Wallet has worked with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus S smartphone offered by launch partner Sprint. This device is enabled with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and a Secure Element, two essential hardware specifications required to use Google Wallet for contactless payments. Although Verizon and AT&T both offer Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphones, neither allowed the Google Wallet application to work on devices running on their SIM cards or network, at least not until recently. The Google Wallet app underwent an upgrade on the first of February, and this is when it started working with Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S smartphones offered by AT&T. In theory, all future mobile devices equipped with NFC technology and a Secure Element offered by AT&T would support Google Wallet, although AT&T only has two devices that meet such criteria today.
In an earlier FraudBlog post we mentioned Verizon not allowing Google Wallet to work with the mobile devices they offer their customers, even though Verizon has made the Samsung Galaxy Nexus available to their customers. Just because AT&T has decided to cooperate with Google Wallet doesn’t mean the other two carriers comprising Isis will do the same. In fact, Google recently removed several pages about the Verizon Galaxy Nexus from their developer support pages.
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