AT&T, Verizon to undergo probe

AT&T, Verizon to undergo probe

Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. fell on a report that the Justice Department is investigating possible coordination by the two companies and a standards group, part of an effort to make it tougher for consumers to easily switch mobile-phone carriers. Read the NY Times report here.

During the duration of this investigation, the G.S.M.A has confirmed that they would put the developments of the method to lock a carrier to a device using eSIM on hold until a verdict is reached.

AT&T and Verizon together account for more than 70 percent of the U.S. wireless subscribers. 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.

One source told the paper that the investigation could also include other top USA carriers.

Anonymous sources told the NYT that official complaints were filed roughly five months ago, and two months ago the DOJ issued demands to AT&T, Verizon, and the GSMA.

The technology is now available on some devices, including Apple Watch Series 3, Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch and Microsoft's Surface Pro LTE tablet.

DOJ, GSMA and AT&T declined to comment on the story.

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"In the context of antitrust and IP, 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", Delrahim said in a speech this month at a conference in Washington, D.C. He previously warned of the potential for "cartellike behavior" by competitors that got together with standards-setting organizations.

AT&T also indicated it was they are working with the Justice Department.

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

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

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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