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

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

The investigation was opened after the Justice Department recieved formal complaints from at least one wireless carrier and one device maker.

Representatives for the Justice Department, GSMA and Apple declined to comment.

At issue in the investigation is whether the nation's largest wireless operators are working together to squelch a technology that would allow customers to switch their service provider without having to insert a new SIM card into their existing phone.

The Justice Department hasn't confirmed the allegations at this time.

Carriers like AT&T and Verizon have increasingly been losing subscribers to T-Mobile, thanks to more consumer friendly policies ranging from cheaper worldwide roaming to the elimination of hidden fees and long-term contracts.

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A Verizon spokesman told the outlet that the inquiry was "much ado about nothing", and that the company had been cooperating with the Justice Department because of "a difference of opinion with a couple of phone equipment manufacturers regarding the development of eSIM standards". Instead, the DOJ requested information from all four major US carriers back in February as the agency started an antitrust investigation into the wireless business. 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 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.

Apple and Samsung have both been pushing the telecom industry to adopt eSIM technology. The DOJ argues that the deal will hurt competition and lead to higher prices.

CNN's video below covers why the AT&T Time Warner trial matters.

The source said the Obama administration had investigated similar claims in 2016 but did not take any action. The Apple Watch 3, Google Pixel 2 smartphone and Microsoft Surface all have eSIM abilities, for example. The investigation may also include other major American carriers, another person said. 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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