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Verizon, AT&T fall on report DOJ is probing collusion

22 April, 2018, 01:47 | Author: Abraham Jackson
  • REUTERS  Mario Anzuoni  File

According to the sources cited, officials are looking into whether the two carriers, as well as telecom standards organization GSMA, colluded to make it harder for customers to switch providers. According to GSMA, the eSIM standard developed in conjunction with AT&T and Verizon throws a wrench into these plans by allowing carriers keep an eSIM-equipped device locked to their network.

The investigation was opened about five month ago, the Times reported. The device maker was Apple, one of them said.

It's being reported this afternoon that the Justice Department had reached out to all four major USA wireless carriers as part of an antitrust investigation. The DOJ's investigation could show that the companies along with the GSMA were trying to influence the development of this technology in order to maintain their market dominance.

AT&T and Verizon together control about 70 percent of all wireless subscriptions in the United States. The DOJ apparently is investigating whether the carriers looked at each other and said, "This is not cool" because the technology makes leaving for another carrier much easier, Zelin said.

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

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AT&T and Time Warner have disputed the claims in court.

Most mobile phones use SIM cards, which contain unique identifying information about a user and are inserted into the devices so the phones can function.

As it is, carriers around the world and in the United States in particular already hold an overwhelming power over consumers, often charging ridiculously high fees to purchase and activate a new SIM card.

Apple has been including eSIM technology in its iPads for some time now, and began offering it with its Series 3 cellular Apple Watches as well. However as 9to5Mac points out, Google and Microsoft both offer devices that use eSIM tech, suggesting that they might also have a good reason to possibly file a complaint as well. Other companies have since voiced similar concerns, the report said. With an eSIM embedded in a handset, the user doesn't have to swap a SIM card on a phone to change carriers.

The person also said the Justice Department previously examined this matter in 2016, but ended up dropping the investigation.

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