Google is attempting to revive its flagging mobile wallet service by getting its app pre-installed on handsets sold by America's biggest telcos. In addition, the firm is buying technology from its telco-owned rival, Softcard, which looks set to be killed off.
From later this year, Android handsets running KitKat or higher sold by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless will come pre-installed with the Google wallet app, including the tap and pay functionality.
Says Google in a blog post: "We’re also acquiring some exciting technology and intellectual property from Softcard to make Google Wallet better."
Softcard's own wallet is now likely to be killed off, with the JV saying in its own statement: "For now, Softcard customers can continue to tap and pay with the app. We will share more information with customers and partners in the coming weeks."
Last month Softcard laid off around 60 staff as part of a cost cutting exercise amid rumours that owners AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless had decided to stop funding the outfit.
Google Wallet has so far failed to take off, in large part because the wireless carriers have refused to cooperate while they put their efforts into Softcard. The new deal will is a major boost for Google as it battles to win a significant slice of the mobile money market.
The firm has fallen behind Apple and now looks set to face another powerful rival in Samsung, which last week agreed a deal to buy mobile wallet outfit LoopPay ahead of a widely expected introduction of its own wallet.