The US Justice Department (DOJ) is Investigating a claim of collusion between AT&T and Verizon Communications, according to a report in the New York Times. The DOJ has opened an antitrust investigation into potential coordination by AT&T, Verizon Communications and the GSM Association (GSMA) to hinder consumers from easily switching carriers.
The DOJ has issued demands for information on potential collusion to thwart a technology known as eSIM (embedded SIM) allowing people to switch wireless providers remotely without having to insert a new SIM card into a device. According to the report, the investigation centres on whether the wireless carriers, “working with the GSMA, secretly tried to influence mobile technology to unfairly maintain their dominance, in a way that hurt competition and consumers and hindered innovation in the wider mobile industry.” Easy switching could lead to more turnover and fewer subscribers for AT&T and Verizon, which together control about 70 percent of all wireless subscriptions in the US.
'Much ado about nothing'
Representatives for the Justice Department, and Apple declined to comment. In a statement to the newspaper, a Verizon spokesman called the investigation 'a difference of opinion' and 'much ado about nothing.' An AT&T spokesman said it was working 'to move this issue forward.' The investigation may also include major American carriers other than AT&T and Verizon, a person with knowledge of the inquiry said. The GSMA. said it is 'cooperating fully with the Department of Justice in this matter.' The DOJ is currently suing AT&T to block its $85.4 billion merger with Time Warner, believing the deal will hurt competition and lead to higher prices for cable customers. The federal trial is expected to end this month.