Published: Sat, April 21, 2018
Research | By Clarence Powell

DOJ investigating AT&T and Verizon for collusion

DOJ investigating AT&T and Verizon for collusion

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department didn't respond to a request seeking comment. "We've been proactively and constructively working with the Department of Justice for several months regarding this inquiry and we continue to do so".

In an email to Fox 5, the Justice Department would neither confirm nor deny the investigation.

That would have been accomplished by thwarting "eSIM" technology, which lets people remotely switch providers without inserting a new SIM card into their device.

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.

Verizon and AT&T fell on the news.

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

"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 objective 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. "Nothing more", Verizon's Young said.

More news: San Juan mayor: Power outage won't stop Puerto Rico Series finale

AT&T is also facing an antitrust lawsuit from the Justice Department over its $85 billion merger with Time Warner. Read the NY Times report here. "Incumbent firms have shown themselves willing to use every tool at their disposal to block competition". Collusion to maintain their dominant positions in the market, assuming it happened, would be problematic and is the source of the DOJ's alleged investigation.

Apple rolled out the technology with some of its latest iPad models in 2016, but has thus far not introduced it in smartphones.

If it was up to carriers however users will not be able to hop from one carrier network to another, in the same way as users can now hop from one WIFI network to another. Verizon doesn't support it at all.

The issue appears to center on the ability of the incumbent telephone provider to influence whether a phone being switched to a new provider will be recognized by the new network, said Harold Feld, a senior vice president at Public Knowledge.

Apple and other equipment makers have complained to the Justice Department about wireless carrier practices related to eSIM technology, two sources familiar with the matter said.

AT&T and Time Warner have disputed the claims in court.

Like this: