Tech

U.S. investigating AT&T and Verizon over eSIM collusion

U.S. investigating AT&T and Verizon over eSIM collusion

A telecommunications standards organization - GSMA - said on Saturday it is delaying implementation of a new cellphone technology due to a U.S. government probe of alleged coordination between the group, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc to hinder consumers from easily switching wireless carriers. For more on this read the full NY Times report here. Since Verizon and AT&T are the two largest wireless operators in the states, supporting eSIM technology could cause the pair to lose a number of subscribers. "Along with other GSMA members, we have provided information to the government in response to their requests and will continue to work proactively within GSMA, including with those who might disagree with the proposed standards, to move this issue forward".

AT&T sent us a statement, too. The investigation began five months after one device maker and one wireless carrier filed complaints of collusion to the Justice Department.

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

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

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

More news: Cuban State Media: New president to be Elected Wednesday

Verizon on Friday called the probe "much ado about nothing", adding it has been working with the Justice Department for several months "regarding the inquiry", according to spokesman Rich Young.

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

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

AT&T is already locked in a legal battle with the Justice Department over its plan to acquire Time Warner. Despite eSIM's obvious advantages, it has yet to achieve any significant presence in the market, with only a few notable devices having adopted it so far, such as Google's Pixel 2 and the Apple Watch 3.

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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