US DoJ Investigating AT&T and Verizon Over Claims of Collusion

US DoJ Investigating AT&T and Verizon Over Claims of Collusion

US DoJ Investigating AT&T and Verizon Over Claims of Collusion

The Department of Justice has launched an investigation into whether AT&T, Verizon and the GSM Alliance (GSMA) industry standards group may have colluded to make switching cell phone carriers more hard.

Shares of AT&T and Verizon dipped after the initial Times report, with AT&T closing down 0.4 per cent at US$34.67, and Verizon ending off 1.1 per cent, at US$47.90. Notably, Verizon doesn't let iPad users activate cellular service with the eSIM and AT&T locks devices that use the eSIM. Nothing more. We've been proactively and constructively working with the Department of Justice for several months regarding this inquiry and we continue to do so.

The Times, which cited six sources with knowledge of the matter, reported that the probe began about five months ago when at least one device maker and one carrier filed complaints with the DOJ.

GSMA, a telecommunications standards organization, announced Saturday it is delaying implementation of a new cellphone technology in wake of the Justice Department's investigation of alleged coordination between the group, AT&T and Verizon Communications. "[The issue was] much ado about nothing". In a statement, a Verizon spokesman said that this is all about "a difference of opinion with a couple of phone equipment manufacturers regarding the development of eSIM standards".

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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. It's something supported by companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft, and has already been integrated to some degree in some smart watches. Other companies have since voiced similar concerns, the report said.

The Times said the Justice Department sent demands to AT&T, Verizon and the GSMA, an industry standards-setting group, on efforts to thwart a technology called eSIM.

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).

Verizon claimed it needed to be able to lock down phones to prevent theft and fraud, but Ferras Vinh, a policy expert at the Center for Democracy and Technology noted: "The actions would limit choice for consumers and harm competition".

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