Verizon caught applying double standards to its Isis Wallet app

December 20, 2012

isis wallet app

We reported on the dispute between Verizon and Google regarding the Google Wallet app earlier this month, but it seems that Verizon have been caught applying a ridiculous double standard when it comes to their own Isis Mobile Wallet application.

The Isis Mobile Wallet is a joint development between T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon, which allows users to make secure mobile payments using NFC-equipped SIM cards, and is very similar to the Google Wallet app.

Originally, Verizon said that they wouldn’t be offering Google Wallet on their handsets because it required access to the phone’s secure element. They stated that:

“Google is free to offer its Google Wallet application in a manner that doesn’t require integration with the secure element.”

Well, it seems that that Verizon don’t care about being called out on blatant hypocrisy, as it turns out that their own Isis Mobile Wallet application requires access to the very same Secure Element. All you have to do it check the installation requirements for the Isis Wallet to see through the farce.

isis phone requirements

It’s quite clear that Verizon are trying to keep Google’s own wallet app away from their handsets. Of course there’s a financial incentive to having a monopoly on mobile payment systems, as the developers will get a cut of every transaction, but it doesn’t make this sort of double-standard acceptable. In my opinion this definitely constitutes unfair and anti-competitive behavior.

Google has already complained to the FCC about the uncompetitive actions of Verizon, and this new development should certainly add some weight to Google’s case.

Comments

  • descendency

    This begs an anti-trust investigation.

  • http://profiles.google.com/eric.soulliage eric Soulliage

    yawn ……surprised ?

  • George

    It’s these continued practices that led me to the decision that I am on my last VZW handset. As soon as all 3 of my lines are out of contract, I’m gone!

  • Al Chandler

    As if they would say “we are not going to offer google wallet because we do not want it to compete with isis”

  • Chris

    Good. People want choice and sadly Verizon hates that. I’m surprised they havnt blocked google nav or google music/play for their own v cast shit

  • AxelGrease

    I don’t see it as the same secure element. The one that Verizon is using is the subscriber SIM that they issue, and not the one embedded in the handset. So in fact, they are doing it right – As a user I would have hated it if they put my confidential information on a secure element embedded in the phone. That would mean I would have no way of removing it when I got rid of the phone. I don’t think Google really considered user security when they decided to go with the embedded secure element for their wallet. No wonder they got blocked by all the carriers

    • SamsungFTW

      They only got blocked by the carriers that offer ISIS… It is available on Sprint and US Cellular. Coincidence? And true, they are probably referencing the SIM card, though they don’t really make that clear, but Google Wallet can be easily reset, even remotely. You can’t remove the card remotely, so to me Google’s way seems at least equally secure. And it does not store *your* personal information, it creates a separate virtual Mastercard that is not associated with any of your personal financial data, which completes the transaction and then bills you after it has completed. There is nothing a thief could do with this virtual Mastercard’s number, as it won’t work without Google Wallet. It is not vulnerable to remote attacks because the chip is isolated from the rest of the phone (hence the name secure element). Of course, in theory, nothing exists that cannot be hacked, however it would be infinitely harder to get this information from a phone than it would be to just steal your actual wallet.

      • AxelGrease

        I would still argue that being able to physically remove the secure element when needed is more secure than leaving it embedded in a handset that you throw away after using for a year, and ends up on eBay. Plus remote reset only works if there is a network connection available. Your main point is that the account they are creating is a virtual MasterCard account. That is where any level of security is coming into play. Alas – that move came in too late, and VZ had blocked based on the earlier version of the wallet where the actual card credentials were loaded on the SE in the phone. Plus GW was taking a loss on every transaction by implementing the virtual MasterCard, as the transaction fees would get charged twice. No GW is shutting down, and the team is being dismantled.

  • Alu Zeros

    File a complaint with the FCC, I just did.

  • Michael Lee

    This is why I don’t use Verizon. Actually, it’s mainly because I use prepaid phones (Nexus 4, etc.. Still, I wouldn’t use verizon if I had a choice.

  • Mordecaidrake

    I really wish there was a carrier in my area better than Verizon, or at least just as good. I wan’t to leave them so bad.

  • Adam Outler

    Nope. Verizon stated that they have a very simple program to integrate into the Secure Element. It likely involves a licensing fee.