Report: DOJ investigating AT&T, Verizon over possible collusion

Report: DOJ investigating AT&T, Verizon over possible collusion
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The Justice Department is investigating whether AT&T and Verizon colluded with a wireless standards organization to make it harder for consumers to switch phone carriers, according to The New York Times.

The Times is reporting that the DOJ's antitrust division has contacted the companies and the industry group about whether there was any effort to deter a new technology known as eSIM, which would allow consumers to switch providers without using a SIM card.

A Verizon spokesman told the Times that the inquiry was “much ado about nothing,” and that the company had been cooperating with the Justice Department because of “a difference of opinion with a couple of phone equipment manufacturers regarding the development of eSIM standards.”

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The inquiry is also reportedly targeting the GSMA, a wireless trade group.

The investigation was opened about five month ago, the Times reported.

AT&T is also facing an antitrust lawsuit from the Justice Department to block its proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner.