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How Can The Wireless Ecosystem Stay Open For Innovation?

Posted on Jan 23, 2012

Verizon asking Google to disable its wireless payment service from the highly anticipated Galaxy Nexus is about more than two big companies battling for control.

The controversy over Google Wallet not launching on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone hits at the heart of a fundamental problem, according to Barbara van Schewick, an associate professor of law and electrical engineering at Stanford University.

In an interview with Steven Cherry for IEEE Spectrum's Techwise Conversations, van Schewick said the issue raises an important question: How can we ensure that the wireless ecosystem remains open for innovation and beneficial for consumers?

She's the author of a recent letter to the chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission that asked him to look into whether Verizon not including Google Wallet on the Galaxy Nexus violates Verizon's license to use its radio spectrum.

This raises exactly the concerns that mobile innovators, investors and users have been worried about,� van Schewick said. And therefore I think it's a key case that will determine the future of mobile Internet openness in the U.S.

Verizon asked Google to disable the Google Wallet app because it believes the pay-on-the-go without swiping program's connection isn't secure enough, according to a report in Reuters.

However, Cherry points out that some observers think Verizon has another motive. Verizon is a founding member of a consortium with AT&T and T-Mobile that sunk $100 million into ISIS, which competes directly with Google Wallet and is expected to launch later this year.

Source: IEEE Spectrum, January 2012