AT&T, Verizon face DOJ probe amid collusion allegations

AT&T, Verizon face DOJ probe amid collusion allegations

"We are aware of the investigation into GSMA's process for developing eSIM standards that provide a better experience for consumers", an AT&T spokesperson said in a statement.

eSIMs are at the heart of Microsoft's Always-Connected PC initiative, and Windows 10 Redstone 4 is set to make it easy to buy data plans from carriers simply by downloading an app from the Microsoft Store, similar to how one can buy a WIFI data plan.

Verizon told Fox 5 that this is much ado about nothing.

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

The investigation was opened about five month ago, the Times reported.

Representatives for the carriers and the industry group declined to comment to the Times.

Verizon repudiated the claim, arguing a "difference of opinion with a couple of phone equipment manufacturers regarding the development of eSIM standards", but has been working with the U.S. government on the inquiry. "Nothing more", Verizon's Young said. "We've been proactively and constructively working with the Department of Justice for several months regarding this inquiry and we continue to do so".




AT&T, which is fighting the Justice Department's efforts to block its takeover of Time Warner Inc., dropped 1.9 percent but recovered to close at $34.67, down 0.4 percent.

FBN's Connell McShane discusses the court battle between AT&T-Time Warner and the Department of Justice.

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment, saying in an email that "as a matter of policy, the Department of Justice does not confirm, deny, or otherwise comment, on the existence or nonexistence of investigations".

Shares of Verizon and AT&T dipped slightly following the news. The Justice Department says its merger will hurt competition and lead to higher prices for customers.

In a private meeting this year of a task force called GSMA North America, AT&T and Verizon pushed for the ability to lock phones to their networks, bypassing the objective of eSIM technology, said Harold Feld, a senior vice president of Public Knowledge, a nonprofit consumer group, who was briefed on the meeting.

And there have been industry movements toward SIM cards that can switch among carriers.

"I am very happy that the DOJ is taking its job as a cop on the beat very seriously", said Feld.

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