Verizon Android users are all too familiar by now with the carrier’s unwillingness to play nicely with Google Wallet. When you can get it to work, it’s a big, hacky mess. Verizon subscribers have been complaining to the FCC on the grounds that Verizon shouldn’t be blocking access to apps, and we just got the chance to check out one of the carrier’s response letters. To defend its position, Verizon makes some pretty out-there claims, centering on the carrier’s belief that it’s allowed to act as gatekeeper to the hardware’s secure element.
The argument put forth by Verizon is bordering on disingenuous. In the company’s eyes, it’s not blocking Google Wallet per se, and the incompatibility is somehow Google’s fault for its reliance on the secure element. That’s the part of your phone’s hardware that stores your payment info, and Wallet needs to be able to communicate with it in order to process transactions. Since the secure element is, in Verizon’s words, “separate from the device’s basic communications functions or its operating system”, Verizon believes it can administer access to the secure element however it sees fit, free from FCC interference.
That’s a load of baloney, and Verizon’s counterargument that it has a “straightforward process” Google could take advantage of to get Wallet working is outside the point. Simply because it sold you the phone should give Verizon no more control over the software you run than Best Buy has over what games you play on your Xbox 360. Splitting hairs like this is only going to make Verizon look worse.