DOJ Investigating AT&T, Verizon for Collusion

DOJ Investigating AT&T, Verizon for Collusion

DOJ Investigating AT&T, Verizon for Collusion

The New York Times reported Friday that GSMA, Verizon and AT&T were being investigated for possible collusion for making it more hard for consumers to easily switch wireless carriers.

The report notes that the two carriers handle about 70% of United States wireless customers, and that the eSIM tech makes it easier to switch carriers.

The new eSIM technology allows mobile phone users to jump to a new provider without having to use a traditional physical SIM card in their handset. AT&T and Verizon face accusations that they colluded with the try to establish standards that would allow them to lock a device to their network even if it had eSIM technology. A technology that would make it easier for consumers to switch carriers could be a blow to these companies' mobile businesses.

"The reality is that we have a difference of opinion with a couple of phone equipment manufacturers regarding the development of e-SIM standards", Verizon spokesman Rich Young said to The Wall Street Journal. Some of Apple's iPads already contain eSIM technology, according to industry sources.

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We are aware of the investigation into GSMA's process for developing eSIM standards that provide a better experience for consumers.

AT&T also indicated it was they are working with the Justice Department.

Aside from being much smaller than current nano-SIM cards, eSIM would let customers switch from one carrier to another with nearly as much ease as one switches from one email address to another. He has said the Justice Department will scrutinize potential coordination in standards-setting organizations that can hurt competition. For companies like Apple, eSIM technology would free up storage space in devices to use for other technologies like bigger processors and batteries. Despite eSIM's obvious advantages, it has yet to achieve any significant presence in the market, with only a few notable devices having adopted it so far, such as Google's Pixel 2 and the Apple Watch 3.

The person briefed on the matter said the Obama administration had investigated similar claims in 2016 but did not take any action. Verizon had previously stated that it needed to be able lock down phones as a way to prevent fraud and theft.

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