US said to investigate AT&T, Verizon over wireless collusion claim

Department of Justice

Department of Justice

Consumer advocates support the idea of an electronic SIM card, which is in the process of being rolled out, since it allows phone owners to bargain hunt and contract with any network or to shift networks easily while traveling, said Feld. A new technology called eSim might have threatened that - it would allow users to switch carriers remotely without buying a new carrier-specific SIM card. North America. Attending the meeting were both Verizon and AT&T, and the pair both argued for the ability to bypass eSIM technology and lock phones to their respective networks.

AT&T and Verizon are being accused of colluding with the G.S.M.A to try and establish a method that would allow them to lock a particular device to a carrier even if it's using the eSIM technology. The investigation was opened five months ago after Apple and an unnamed wireless carrier complained to the DOJ, according to Reuters.

GSMA, a telecommunications standards organization, announced Saturday it is delaying implementation of a new cellphone technology in wake of the Justice Department's investigation of alleged coordination between the group, AT&T and Verizon Communications.

"The G.S.M.A.is cooperating fully with the Department of Justice in this matter."

Shares of AT&T and Verizon dipped after the initial Times report, with AT&T closing down 0.4 per cent at $34.67, and Verizon ending off 1.1 per cent, at $47.90. The department issued demands to the companies and the GSMA, a mobile industry standards group, for information on possible collusion, the report said.

AT&T and Verizon are the giants of the US wireless business, controlling about 70 percent of all wireless subscriptions.

An active investigation has now been in play for 5 months with Verizon saying it was "much ado about nothing" and AT&T being eager to "move this issue forward".

We'll keep you updated as this investigation continues.

"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 anti-competitive and operate in secrecy", Feld said. One of its arguments is that a combined AT&T and Time Warner could work with other large players, like Comcast, which owns NBC Universal, to unfairly manipulate prices of cable channels owned by Time Warner.

Apple is in the midst of preparing a new video service, something like Netflix. Will mobile TV bundles interfere with Apple's plans?

The GSMA declined to comment.

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