Google Wallet said to be seeking more mobile carriers

The first stage of the Web giant's digital wallet hasn't been easy going, which is why it may be wooing AT&T and Verizon to join Sprint as its carriers.

Google Wallet CNET/Marguerite Reardon

Will Google Wallet survive? That's a question that's been looming during the first six months of the the digital wallet program, which has been plagued with issues such as security concerns, minimal consumer use, and few carrier and retail partners willing to support the new technology.

Despite the setbacks , the Web giant isn't planning to close up shop quite yet. Rather, it's looking at different ways to improve its product, including possibly courting AT&T and Verizon mobile carriers and exploring revenue sharing with them, according to Bloomberg.

Google Wallet enthusiastically launched last September and was introduced as an easy way for shoppers to purchase in-store items with a tap or swipe of their mobile phone. Using NFC (near-field communications) technology, Google Wallet initially partnered with Citibank, MasterCard, and Sprint.

However, only two Sprint phones are capable of supporting Google Wallet and rival technology companies such as Isis--which is being backed by Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile--are gearing up for their own "wallets." If Google were to partner with Verizon and AT&T, it would mean greater ad revenue for the company, which Bloomberg reports it might be willing to share with those carriers.

"We are continuing our commercial discussions with Google on this issue," Verizon spokesperson Brenda Raney said to Bloomberg in an e-mail.

Google remains optimistic that its product will take off. It has enlisted new partnerships with retailers like the Pinkberry frozen-yogurt chain, Macy's department stores, Subway food chains, and American Eagle Outfitters clothing line.

"We're enthusiastic about the progress we're making with Google Wallet. Including Monday's announcement of our newest national retail partner Pinkberry," Google spokesman Nate Tyler wrote in an e-mail to CNET today. "We continue to work hard to develop Google Wallet and build the partner ecosystem to make it possible for everyone to pay with their phones and get great deals while shopping."

According to Bloomberg, Sprint will introduce roughly 12 new phones in the coming year that should be able to run Google Wallet.

 

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