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DOJ probing AT&T, Verizon for collusion to thwart eSIM and you switching

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AT&T, Verizon, and GSMA are being[1] investigated by the US Department of Justice for collusion to make it more difficult for customers to switch wireless carriers, according to Reuters.[2]

The DOJ is looking into whether AT&T and Verizon worked with the GSMA, a regulatory body for the mobile ecosystem, to hinder a technology known[3] as eSIM. It enables customers to remotely switch wireless providers without having to swap out a physical SIM card.

doj-esim-att-verizon.jpg DOJ is investigating AT&T, Verizon, and GSMA. (Ramin Talaie, Getty Images (File photo))

GSMA has put development of the eSIM standard on hold pending the completion of the antitrust investigation, it confirmed.

GSMA said in a statement:

The GSMA, working with leading mobile operators, device makers and SIM manufacturers worldwide, is facilitating the development of a universal standard for eSIM that will be deployed globally.

This standard contains a wide range of features, including the option for the eSIM to be locked. In the United States, consumers would have this option; however, they would need to explicitly consent to this under specific commercial agreements with their mobile operator, for example when purchasing a subsidised device.

The development of the latest version of the specification is on hold pending the completion of an investigation by the United States Department of Justice. The GSMA is cooperating fully with the Department of Justice in this matter.

Apple and other mobile equipment makers earlier joined in complaining to federal regulators about wireless carrier practices, according to[4] Bloomberg.

A Verizon spokesperson told[5] CNET it has "proactively and constructively working with the Justice Department for several months." The DOJ has reportedly requested information from

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