undergroundnewsroom.com May 27, 2018

DOJ investigating AT&T and Verizon for collusion

22 April 2018, 01:49 | Jenny Fowler

AT&T, Verizon, And T-Mobile Are In Trouble For Being Shady

DOJ investigating AT&T and Verizon for collusion

The probe began after a device maker, identified in the Times report as Apple, and a separate wireless carrier filed a formal complaint.

The push by the major carriers to restrict the flexibility of eSIM run counter to a movement in which consumers were gaining more flexibility to move from carrier to carrier. The Justice Department declined to comment on the matter to the NYT. The new chips would allow people to switch carriers by simply messaging their old and new carriers, with no need for having to insert a new SIM card into the device.

Verizon spokesman Richard Young brushed off the investigation and said the company has been "proactively and constructively working with the Justice Department for several months".

For more than one year, the Justice Department has been examing SIM cards and phone portability, focusing on the largest carriers, AT&T and Verizon Communications.

The accusations regarding this issue are much ado about nothing. The main benefit of eSIM technology is consumer freedom, which is exactly why certain telecommunication carriers have allegedly sought to block its adoption. 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. The Apple Watch 3, Google Pixel 2 smartphone and Microsoft Surface all have eSIM abilities, for example.

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The source said the Obama administration had investigated similar claims in 2016 but did not take any action. The Justice Department says its merger will hurt competition and lead to higher prices for customers.

Apple and Samsung have both been pushing the telecom industry to adopt eSIM technology.

News of the probe comes at a critical time for AT&T which is being sued by the Justice Department to stop its deal to buy media company Time Warner Inc (TWX.N).

Consumer advocates learned in February that Verizon was apparently planning to lock phones as an anti-theft measure, and later were told by industry participants that Verizon was working with AT&T in hopes of convincing the GSMA to create a standard for locking the phones, according to Harold Feld, a senior vice president at Public Knowledge.

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