Google wallet and the operators

Posted on April 24, 2012

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This was originally posted to my internal IBM blog on 11:24 23/03/2012, Steve Devo, google, google_wallet, mobile, payments, Mobile Internet

Several reports over the last few days of Google trying to gain better adoption of their wallet payments.

Google have a few retailers using the system however it seems to me that either they motivate more retailers more quickly or they are on a hide to nothing.

The punter (that’s you and me) want to be able to use the wallet where and when we want, and to find that you can sometimes use it here, and maybe over there, is not good enough, and so we are keeping away.

Add into the mix that there are not enough NFC enabled phones on the market (both in terms of the range of handsets to choose from, and the sales numbers of those handsets) it is tough.

Now, getting into bed with Verizon or AT&T helps, however this will not solve the problem of shoe horning NFC into the handsets, because it is just a cost to the manufacturers who get nothing of the value post sale. Indeed because punters are not asking for NFC as a deciding point when choosing a phone, then they are unlikely to add it in. For them it just increases the BOM costs and support costs.

So if you want to have a google like payment wallet, based on devices (phones mostly) using NFC then you need to bring in the device manufacturers so that they have some upside that makes their business case.

And don’t be thinking of an aftermarket sticker based NFC, as these tend to be RFID, and, well to be honest, crap.

So a tough road ahead for the google wallet folks, especially as they lost a couple of the senior managers / driving force to a start up.

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