Google has contacted a number of MNOs around the world in an attempt to expand the availability of its Wallet to include both more handsets and international markets. Sprint is expected to introduce at least 10 more phones that can support Google Wallet by the end of 2012 and Google has also held discussions with wireless carriers in South Korea, Japan and more.
Ultimately, Google is looking to strike one of two types of agreements: one would enable Google to turn on the secure elements in certain Android phones and the other would provide Google with the right to offer mobile wallet services via the phone’s NFC SIM.
The NFC SIMs used by mobile network operators as secure elements, however, also offer a number of ways for non-carriers to deliver NFC mobile wallet services. Technology is available to allow these businesses to strike wholesale deals with carriers to acquire the rights to all or part of the NFC secure element on a SIM and then use that to deliver their mobile wallet offering to consumers. This means that services provided by operating system suppliers can find their way onto any handset — for a price — and will not be restricted only to handsets containing an embedded secure element chip.
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