Apple, device makers behind DOJ probe of telecom collusion
Apple, device makers behind DOJ probe of telecom collusion
Report: DOJ investigating AT&T, Verizon over possible collusion
21 April, 2018, 13:53
- The U.S. Justice Department is investigating possible collusion between Verizon, AT&T, and GSMA, a mobile industry standards-setting group, according to the New York Times.
"There is a constant problem with industry standards-setting organizations that on the one hand allow the industry to come together for the goal of efficiency but can be very anticompetitive and operate in secrecy", consumer advocate Harold Feld tells the Times. Instead, the DOJ requested information from all four major US carriers back in February as the agency started an antitrust investigation into the wireless business. 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.
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.
None of the entities under investigation commented for the NYT report. Apple declined to comment.
"We are aware of the investigation into GSMA's process for developing eSIM standards that provide a better experience for consumers", AT&T said. Verizon closed down 1.1 percent to $47.90 after losing as much as 2.5 percent.
News of the probe comes at a critical time for AT&T which is being sued by the Justice Department to stop its deal to buy the media company, Time Warner.
News has broke this afternoon that the US Department of Justice has opened an investigation over antitrust concerns and potential collusion between Verizon and AT&T in efforts to prevent eSIM adoption and progress. Investigators from the Justice Department reportedly issued demands for information from AT&T, Verizon, and the GSMA in February. The new chips would allow people to switch carriers by simply messaging their old and new carriers, with no need for having to insert a new SIM card into the device.
And there have been industry movements toward SIM cards that can switch among carriers. "Incumbent firms have shown themselves willing to use every tool at their disposal to block competition". While the iPad does have the technology, not all carriers use it.
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.
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.
The investigation was opened about five month ago, the Times reported.
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