T-Mobile’s Twitter Account Explains Why Carrier Won’t Support Google Wallet

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Over the last year or so there has been plenty of frustration directed at the carriers, some of whom are clearly stonewalling support for Google’s Wallet app. While T-Mobile has long stonewalled support for Google’s Wallet service, they’ve never really come out and said it’s directly because of their support for Project ISIS…until now. All it took was a simple tweet from a customer to the main @tmobile Twitter account asking why Google Wallet doesn’t work on the Note II. T-Mobile’s response?

“We’re supporting ISIS, the wireless payment standard for mobile devices.”

Which is great, except I don’t remember ISIS actually being dubbed the mobile payment “standard.” In fact, I don’t recall any of the mobile payment services out there being labeled as the de facto industry “standard.”

All in all it seems that both Verizon and T-Mobile are keeping Google Wallet out of their hair because of their support for ISIS. Now, I get it, it’s a business and they can run their business how they see fit, but let’s not act like no other service is available or that the customer isn’t getting the short end.

Sure, you can side-load Google Wallet, but why have to go through the extra step? Why can’t we just have the choice and let the services themselves battle it out for our business? The bottom line is that once again these behemoth carriers are less concerned about customers and more about the bottom line and because of that, they are impeding progress. The carriers shouldn’t ever force a service to be the “standard,” but if it is, it should be based on the merits of the service and its offerings.

I’m so glad T-Mobile is the UNcarrier and “doing things differently.”

TechCrunch via @tmobile

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  • Does it irk anyone else that the carrier has any say in what “mobile wallet” solution I use?

  • VG

    I still find it odd that Google is allowing carriers to block this feature. One thing for certain: should Apple ever decide to implement their own mobile payment system in a future iPhone with NFC, no way Apple will allow carriers to block it. Another reason to buy unlocked Android phones directly from the manufacturer or from Google Play Store.

    • Hilton GoWahoos Redskins

      Another reason the iphone sucks. Apple would make their system proprietary and find a way to make vendors have to pay to use it and users have to pay. Then they would block anyone who develops a better solution from the app store.

  • Hilton GoWahoos Redskins

    Two questions
    1 – article mentions you can sideload google wallet. Will that remove the restrictions on it? I downloaded the app from google play and when you run it, it tells you it is not supported by the carrier.
    2 – Is ISIS even available? I don’t see an app on my phone but the first update for the Galaxy S 4 was said to improve ISIS.

    I don’t mind using ISIS as long as it works like Google Wallet. That is to say, I can attach a credit card to it and use it anywhere that has a paypass reader at the register. Oh, and as long as they don’t try to charge for it.

    • Hilton GoWahoos Redskins

      Oh, and I see Google Wallet is now officially supported on the Sprint Galaxy S 4

    • 21stNow

      ISIS is available in Salt Lake City, UT and Austin, TX to customers who have the ISIS-enabled SIM card.

  • SamHurd

    ISIS is the adopted standard moving forward and is supported by retailers – that is all that matters. If you are unsure of why, read up on it. I expect more from a tech blog.

    • Hilton GoWahoos Redskins

      Is there a specific reason ISIS only works in two cities but claims it will support paypass, while google wallet supported paypass nationwide on release? Seems like since the ISIS app is in the wallet, I should be able to download it and run down the street to 711 and use it with paypass.

  • andele4

    Google Wallet is a huge fail. I’m a cell phone flipper and have had my hands on the EVO 4G LTE, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, and likely one or two others I’ve had with this capability. It NEVER works. I stand there red faced, swiping my phone, working with patient cashiers, and it never works. I then reach for my wallet, pull out a credit card, and BAM – payment processed. No issues, and fast.

    • Hilton GoWahoos Redskins

      Had your hand on, or owned these phones? I used a Galaxy Nexus for a year and the only time it didn’t work was when I replaced the battery with one that didn’t have the NFC antenna built in. In fact, I always used it whenever paypass was available because I’d be checking in on foursquare with my phone, and it was just natural to use my phone to pay instead of put my phone in the holdster and pull out my wallet to pay.

      • andele4

        owned. maybe it was poor data in the location where i tried, but owned all and rarely worked as easily as whipping out plastic.

        • Paddy_Tanninger_Caddy_Manager

          and the chip inside your credit cards (Paypass, Paywave, etc) work instantly on the same machines? Just trying to see if it’s the machine’s scanner issue or your phone/service provider issue.

        • Hilton GoWahoos Redskins

          This is true andele. There was one 711 I went to in the ghetto where paypass didn’t work but it was obvious it was the paypass scanner was jacked up. And yeah, data signal being week will do it too. I never really noticed that because we have 4G everywhere here

      • anon123

        Agree with andele4…tried at Macy’s and no luck

    • StormLink

      My experience is that it works but works poorly. I find that it takes far longer to use, even when I’ve pre-prep’d the phone prior to getting to the cash register, than it would to just use a credit card. Plus what does it save me? They still print out a receipt and make me sign it.

    • 21stNow

      I almost always had success using Google Wallet on my Galaxy Nexus. I haven’t been as successful with the Nexus 4, but I think that it has newer NFC hardware that only works with updated terminals.

      • remister

        I have not had an issue using Google Wallet with my Nexus 4 at any of the store vendors. They are always in awe when I use it!

        • 21stNow

          My Nexus 4 issues have been at CVS and Wegman’s. It worked at 7-Eleven the last time that I tried and it worked at New York & Company recently. I’ve pretty much given up on CVS for the moment which is sad because that is where I used it the most.

        • reptar

          Have them press charge before you try to use Google wallet that usually works!

        • remister

          I will need to try it at my local CVS stores.

  • I just installed Google Wallet on my S3 yesterday. Had to side load it, but all well. Screw TMo

    • edfranco1

      what did you do and how?

      • My comment is awaiting moderation approval. Here ya go guys:

        1. Google: Google Wallet Galaxy S3 Tmobile
        2. Use the XDA Link (shows up 2nd for me)
        3. Follow instructions

    • 21stNow

      What else did you do? Just sideloading it won’t allow you to use it. You have to do some other modifications found on XDA to actually use it.

  • fyi, side-load does not work on any device which cannot already download GW directly from the play store…

    • Hilton GoWahoos Redskins

      Even side loaded it tells you it is blocked by carrier when you open the app

  • Trevnerdio

    I wouldn’t be upset about it if it was out of beta in the next century…

  • D Velasquez

    why? WHY? did the people at ISIS ever heard of FeliCa? that has been used far longer and it has shown to be more reliable, parts of Asia use the FeliCa standard , WHY NOT use something that has been adopted already and make it further compatible? but noooooooo we just needed another incompatible standard that is useless once you set foot outside the US.

  • Josue

    I gibe ISIS a month before it goes down the drain

    • 21stNow

      The ISIS trials started in October or November of last year, so it’s been more than a month. Don’t get me wrong, if an ISIS failure is the only way that we can get Google Wallet, I want to see ISIS fail. My first preference would be for the carriers to give us a choice. However, that’s hard to do now since if you have an ISIS SIM card in your phone you can’t use Google Wallet at all, so it has to be one or the other for a particular user.

  • edfranco1

    isis is ONLY available in Salt Lake Utah and Austin Texas.

  • Paddy_Tanninger_Caddy_Manager

    If it’s the standard, they should roll this out to urban areas with more than 1 million people….

  • Paddy_Tanninger_Caddy_Manager

    Ultimately, ISIS will buyout Google Wallet or vice versa, but likely I don’t see Google relenting on Wallet. At least give the consumers a choice on which platform they want to use, instead of locking us out of one (and in this case both as it’s only in 4 test markets)

    • kliu0x52

      Seeing as how Google needs a payment system to handle things like Play Store purchases or international minutes on Google Voice, they’ll hang onto Wallet. Besides, ISIS is a venture between Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile (Sprint was smart and stayed out), so it’s not a hindrance to Google Wallet outside of the US.

  • let me be the first to say that i don’t even know what ISIS is or where Google Wallet would benefit me let alone care about it being available to me lol

    • 21stNow

      Foot Locker, Champs, Macy’s, 7-Eleven, CVS, McDonald’s, Wegman’s, and Whole Foods to name a few. You can go to Google Wallet’s website to see a list of places that accept it.

      • remister

        Jamba Juice, look for the Google Wallet stickers!

        • jonathan3579

          You don’t even really need to look for Google Wallet stickers. All you need is a PayPass wherever you’re checking out.

        • remister

          TO tell you the truth, I was not able to use at most places with the PayPass icon. I guess I have to try it when I go back to my Nexus 4.

        • jonathan3579

          I’ve used it at Best Buy and several other stores. All I did personally was load the PayPass app and looked for locations that had it and experimented. The only place I ever had a problem with was a Jack ‘N the Box.

    • Then i guess reading this article and taking the time to post has a waste of your time.

  • Rick Keith

    I use Google Wallet on my Nexus 4 (bought from T-Mobile) where ever it’s accepted and it’s always worked great. It’s crappy the carriers are forcing their members to use a service that’s still in beta, and probably not even available in most areas yet, when there’s a competing service that works and is available most everywhere. I believe if Google Wallet was allowed on more devices, more people would obviously use it; and more business would install payment systems that accept nfc payments to accommodate the growing demand.

    The carries are preventing growth of Google Wallet now, so they don’t have to compete against them in the future.

    • Dakota

      Where is it accepted? a coffee house? Ive never seen it anywhere and most people have no idea what it is

      • Its accepted anywhere one can tap and pay with there credit card, it does not have to be a specific Google wallet checkout thing. It is everywhere, I use it everyday at McDonalds.

  • aTMOguy

    It’s important to keep in mind that “most” of the carriers have a significant investment stake in ISIS (i.e. joint ownership) thus it’s in their best interest to promote ISIS as the go-to mobile payment solution.

  • Hilton GoWahoos Redskins

    SOOO…I did some due diligence about ISIS. I sent a tweet to @paywithisis asking when will it work nationwide anywhere there is a paypass reader. They responded that it works nationwide NOW with any retailer that has paypass at the register for payments. BUT, the app itself requires the secure sim card that the carriers are only giving out in Salt Lake City and Austin. So this will basically work just like Google Wallet, only retailers will have the option to add hardware to support special offers and coupons through ISIS.

    Research continued. I sideloaded Google Wallet. It prompted that it is not supported by my device (Galaxy S 4) or carrier. I then downloaded the ISIS app for T-Mobile. It prompted that it has to detect NFC and the secure item (the secure sim card only being given out in Salt Lake City and Austin).
    I then called T-Mobile and got routed to tech support. I asked when ISIS will be available nationwide. The first person said by the end of the day, then transferred me. The second person didn’t even know what Google Wallet or ISIS was, put me on hold while he googled it, then told me to call Samsung to ask how to install the app (I could hear his supervisor tell him to tell me that in the background). I then told him I have the app installed fine, but it is looking for the secure sim card that you are only giving out in Austin and Salt Lake City right now. I asked when that will be available everywhere. He had me hold. He came back and said he couldn’t figure out why google wallet isn’t working or what ISIS is. I told him the website is paywithisis.com and he said that he was looking at it. He then recommended I call Samsung. I told him I would and thanked him.

    Man, when you work helpdesk for IT, calling tech support really has a different light. I knew what he was doing. His company is listed as support for a service they don’t have any information about. Happens to me all the time at work.

    I tweeted to @paywithisis it’s time to hound @tmobile_usa to release those sim cards. @paywithisis said they are working hard to make that happen.

  • Hilton GoWahoos Redskins

    Oops. I must have said something the public wasn’t supposed to know yet. I see my post was deleted. My bad

    • What did you say? :-/

    • loopyduck

      No need to be a drama queen; your other comment is right underneath this one. You included a link, which forces it into the mod queue.

  • Mickey Drench

    Off the subject. LTE just lit up on my Galaxy Note 2 in Chicago, but on for a few seconds. I guess it won’t be long now.

  • Tom

    Why is the wireless industry going with ISIS? Don’t they know it has ants?

  • Impatient Waiter

    well nothing around here accepts either so I don’t care…and ISIS can’t be trusted AT ALL! Lana and Cyril are the only two responsible people there!

  • We need an electronic wallet that is usable and supported now, ISIS is only in two cities; how deficient.

  • Clarkkent113

    Everyone’s really screwed up the mobile payments potential. From the carriers, to manufacturers of NFC enabled payment systems at stores, to the way in which the software actually works

    I’ve always had hope for this, and I still think there is time to salvage mobile payments but it’s increasingly looking like Square is the type of mobile payment of the future. No need to even pull out your cellphone to pay.

  • Mark

    My mobile wallet is a nice leather job from Fossil. Works fine internationally and has no compatibility issues whatsoever.

  • Malachor

    At what point does it get considered a monopoly? By not letting customers choose I understand securing their investments but limiting market growth at the same time.

  • krazytrixxxsta

    Just side load the app. *Side-loading a standard feature of Android. No root require*

  • h_f_m

    I like how they say it’s the “wireless payment standard” with a smile.


    Sad face, TMo, Sad face. Though I have been nothing but Nexus since the N1 was launched, this is not how I hoped this would play out.

  • NuShrike

    BS. Side loading doesn’t let you use Wallet on S3 nor S4. It specifically does a carrier check internally. There’s pseudo-rooting with modified side – load, and it’s not available on S4 yet.

  • Birdsfan

    Side loading regardless of root right now does not work either. Most people on XDA using the Note II are not able to use GW if they’ve flashed a new ROM after some time in mid-April. This is complete bs on the carriers part and I think to a certain degree Google’s since they changed something mid April that stopped the ability to use even with root.

  • justin

    I know my phone is old but I love it (galaxy nexus gsm) and I’m able to use gw with no problem so it should be no problem with the nexus 4 or the stock galaxy s4 when it comes out so you do have a few options to chose from to get your gw fix.

    • Dakota

      I have the GN too and am happy…Its not THAT old…but again I was given it for free last Sept so Ive had it less than a year. I do wish it had LTE but then TMobile still doesnt…and I do wish it had a better camera. Much better. But for now, my $45 prepaid plan has me satisfied and in no rush for something else. HOping the Android update might bring something good but it sounds like it wont…

  • Dakota

    Funny how you think the carriers are in it for consumers? Their actions always prove otherwise…They are in it to make money – who cares about consumers as long as they fork over money

  • Zombiexm


    File a complaint with the FTC about Tmobile, ATT, and Verizon. They clearly are blocking google wallet by removing files for the secure element, and/or requesting google to block it. They also can black list devices that will not follow there will.

    Include this tweet, and also mention google needs to allow competitors (trusted ones) access to the sercure element. Also add what ever you feel is needed to support the matter, more complaints means more likelyhood they will come down on this matter.

  • Dean Politis

    I created a petition on change.org requesting T-Mobile to support Google Wallet. Please sign the petition.

  • tmojack85

    Why come out with a store like this when there has always been information out there showing that T-Mobile does not support Google Wallet, but supports ISIS. There have many posts on all of their social channels, letting people know this. Now, you sensationalize something that is already known.
    Good way to push views for news, that really isn’t new.

    • Thanks Jack, I got your email and I’ll respond to it in length in the morning. I posted this because Google Wallet jumped back into the headlines during Google I/O and a million questions surfaced about when or if T-Mobile would officially support it. When I caught the tweet, I thought I would answer all of those emails I received in one fell swoop.

      It’s a lot easier for me to do a service to my readers by attempting to inform them of T-Mobile’s position than to respond to each and every email by sending them links to T-Mobile’s old social media comments.

      I don’t believe I was sensationalizing this as Wallet was right back in the headlines with support for new phones, a story the week prior about a possible credit card and why it wasn’t mentioned at all during the keynote.

      What’s “new” to you isn’t new to everyone else. That’s something I’d try and keep in mind.

    • Dean Politis

      I don’t think T-Mobile has ever formally stated that they wouldn’t support Google Wallet. They have remained silent. It is interesting to note, I believe the Nexus 4 sold by T-Mobile does support Google Wallet (but then again it is a Nexus device and T-Mobile is not Verizon).

      • Adrayven

        That was my thought. Then again, I do wonder why carriers are even in the conversation? Yes their network is used during the process, but what about Paypal wallet? other pay services? they going to outright block them?

        It does smack anti-competitive in my mind and seems likely they are funneling people to a service they might get kickbacks for officially ‘allowing’ on their phones? Am I seeing this wrong?

        Honestly, this is where Apple got it correct with the iPhone. Carriers should have little to nothing to say when it comes to what apps are on the device. They are like cable or dsl providers to me. I’d be up in arms if they tried to dictate what I got on my laptop, desktop or tablet..

        Why so indifferent when it comes to our phones?

  • Adrian Perez

    I would like to use Google Wallet on my Samsung GS3 with T-Mobile as my service carrier. I shouldn’t have to root my phone, or “side-load” Google Wallet in order to do so.