Several reports have come out indicating that AT&T has quietly begun allowing users of the Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy S NFC-enabled smartphones to download Google Wallet.
Slashgear reports that the download requires that an AT&T SIM be loaded into the phone.
Google has made it clear in the past that it has big plans for Google Wallet, so any blocking by carriers is a huge pain in the butt for the company. For one, Google has already rolled Google Checkout into Google Wallet. It’s also an important product to the expansion of Google Offers, the company’s Groupon clone, which continues to frequently launch in new markets. This could turn into a significant provider of revenue for the company.
Verizon had blocked Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus, though they didn’t like to use the word “blocking”. Verizon put out a statement that said:
Recent reports that Verizon is blocking Google Wallet on our devices are false. Verizon does not block applications.
Google Wallet is different from other widely-available m-commerce services. Google Wallet does not simply access the operating system and basic hardware of our phones like thousands of other applications. Instead, in order to work as architected by Google, Google Wallet needs to be integrated into a new, secure and proprietary hardware element in our phones.
We are continuing our commercial discussions with Google on this issue.
Still, there has been healthy skepticism about that explanation, given Verizon’s investor role in ISIS, a competing payment service, which AT&T and T-Mobile also invest in.
Since then, hacks have been revealed to get Google Wallet on Verizon, but nothing official.
In fact, while the app has reportedly appeared in the Android Market on AT&T, there hasn’t been any official acknowledgement of this by either Google or AT&T, interestingly.