DOJ investigating AT&T, Verizon over possible collusion

22 April, 2018, 01:51 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • AT&T, Verizon under DoJ antitrust investigation for possible eSIM collusion, report says

The investigation was opened about five months ago after at least one device maker and one wireless carrier filed formal complaints with the Justice Department, two of the people said.

The antitrust division is looking into whether or not carriers colluded in stifling technology that allows customers to switch providers without having to change out their SIM card.

None of the entities under investigation commented for the NYT report.

The technology allows consumers to switch wireless providers without having to insert a new physical SIM card, making it easier to compare wireless networks and easily select a new service when desired.

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".

The accusations regarding this issue are much ado about nothing.

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"Apple's desperate for this technology to be there because they want to make the phone smaller and thinner", Kyle Wiens, chief executive of iFixit, which break down down iPhones and writes an iPhone fix manual, said to The Wall Street Journal.

"In the context of antitrust and I.P., we will be inclined to investigate and enforce when we see evidence of collusive conduct undertaken for the goal of fixing prices, or excluding particular competitors or products", Mr. Delrahim said in a speech this month at a conference in Washington.

"There is a constant problem with industry standards-setting organizations that on the one hand allow the industry to come together for the objective of efficiency but can be very anti-competitive and operate in secrecy", Feld said.

Justice is investigating a potential plot to hinder a new technology called eSIM, short for embedded-SIM, the New York Times reported.

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). Apple Watch and iPad both use eSIM technology and Apple is reportedly one of multiple manufacturers who has raised concerns with the DOJ. Google's Pixel 2 smartphones and Microsoft's Surface devices also use eSIM tech, hinting that these companies may have had reason to file complaints as well.

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