Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Apple, device makers behind DOJ probe of telecom collusion

AT&T, Verizon, And T-Mobile Are In Trouble For Being Shady The DOJ is investigating all Major US Carriers over collusion to thwart eSIM cards while AT&T Reveals a new Mobile
June Sullivan | 22 April, 2018, 01:50

According to the New York Times, multiple sources have told them that the Department of Justice is investigating AT&T, Verizon and the GSM Association (GSMA) where they are looking for evidence that these parties working together attempting to limit eSIM technology.

The U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly investigating whether two major wireless carriers colluded with an industry trade group to make it more hard for customers to switch service providers.

eSIM is a technology that eliminates the need for a physical SIM card, which has traditionally been needed to switch carriers. eSIM allows carriers to switch carriers remotely without the need to purchase a new SIM card.

"Apple's desperate for this technology to be there because they want to make the phone smaller and thinner", Kyle Wiens, chief executive of iFixit, which break down down iPhones and writes an iPhone fix manual, said to The Wall Street Journal.

A Verizon spokesperson called the investigation "much ado about nothing", brushing off the matter as little more than a "difference of opinion" regarding eSIM standards.

At the heart of the investigation is whether the nation's biggest wireless carriers, working with the GSMA, secretly tried to influence mobile technology to unfairly maintain their dominance, in a way that hurt competition and consumers and hindered innovation in the wider mobile industry.

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

The technology is now available on some devices, including Apple Watch Series 3, Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch and Microsoft's Surface Pro LTE tablet.

The probe will unfold alongside the Justice Department's ongoing effort to block a proposed $85.4 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner, citing concerns that the deal would be harmful to consumers.

CNN's video below covers why the AT&T Time Warner trial matters. It would also make it easier for people to use their devices while traveling for business. In late 2013, under pressure by the Federal Communications Commission, the wireless industry agreed to let people take devices off any particular network without penalty once the devices were fully paid for.

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