AT&T and Verizon collusion probe tipped at Justice Department

A newly published report claims Verizon and AT&T are the subject of a Department of Justice investigation. According to the sources cited, officials are looking into whether the two carriers, as well as telecom standards organization GSMA, colluded to make it harder for customers to switch providers. The Justice Department hasn't confirmed the allegations at this time.

The information comes from half a dozen sources speaking the New York Times, which claims that the Justice Department demanded info from the trio over possible collusion over eSIM technology. The sources further claim that the agency launched its investigation five months ago after receiving tips from a wireless carrier and at least one device maker.

That device maker was supposedly Apple, though only one source made that claim. The allegations revolve around claims that both carriers colluded with the GSMA in an attempt to establish standards that would lock eSIM devices to a particular carrier's network.

Verizon, however, has indicated that it disagrees with the supposed allegations. Speaking with NYT, a spokesperson for the carrier said that Verizon has been working with the DOJ on a probe over "a difference of opinion with a couple of phone equipment manufacturers regarding the development of eSIM standards."

Simplifying the process of switching from one carrier to another — something eSIM technology will hopefully usher in — may result in consumers jumping to new carriers more frequently to take advantage of promotions. Combined, Verizon and AT&T both provide wireless service to the majority of mobile phone users in the US. 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.

SOURCE: New York Times