Sprint is launching its own mobile wallet called Touch. The company, which is currently in the number three spot among American mobile carriers, now aims to provide some competition to Google Wallet. In the past, Sprint was the only company that offered Google Wallet among the other mobile carriers in the U.S. At this point, nevertheless, it is uncertain whether Sprint will cut off its partnership with Google completely or choose to offer both services on phones capable of NFC.
Sprint’s Touch wallet features a secure element, which is likely a physical chip that will ensure that the transactions will be safe. To achieve this, Sprint has hired Sequent Software, a Silicon Valley-based company, to take care of the security issues. This will hopefully convince more to use the service, something that the company was not able to achieve with the Google Wallet. Earlier, news of how easy it is to crack Google Wallet’s PIN verification system on non-rooted devices spread, causing many to distrust the service.
With Sprint’s Touch wallet, the company can moreover forge connections with service providers as well as banks, unlike when it was only offering Google’s service. This will likely lead to financial incentives that Sprint can enjoy. Apart from encouraging banks and service providers, Sprint is also expected to make available the Touch wallet’s API in an effort to attract app developers to add other services.
Sprint envisions Touch as an alternative against Isis. Isis is a wallet offered by the other top carriers in the U.S.: Verizon Wireless, AT&T, and T-Mobile USA, which is set to be launched this summer. Sprint had once been part of this venture until 2010, but opted later to plan its own wallet service.
Meanwhile, Google is also working to improve its own wallet by adding payment features based on the cloud. It has also recently acquired TxVia to improve its payment technology. If Sprint, however, completely drops out of the partnership, it would be difficult for Google to get consumers for this service.