NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - The U.S. Justice Department is investigating possible collusion between Verizon, AT&T, and GSMA, a mobile industry standards-setting group, according to the New York Times.
The DOJ is looking to see if the trio has prevented users from switching carriers by blocking a technology company known as eSIM, which lets people remotely switch wireless providers without having to insert a new SIM card into the device.
In an email to Fox 5, the Justice Department would neither confirm nor deny the investigation.
But former federal prosecutor Randy Zelin told Fox 5 he isn't surprised that AT&T and Verizon, which have about 70 percent of the market share, are being investigated. The DOJ apparently is investigating whether the carriers looked at each other and said, "This is not cool" because the technology makes leaving for another carrier much easier, Zelin said.
Verizon told Fox 5 that this is much ado about nothing.
"The reality is that we have a difference of opinion with a couple of phone equipment manufacturers regarding the development of e-SIM standards. Nothing more," Verizon said. "We've been proactively and constructively working with the Department of Justice for several months regarding this inquiry and we continue to do so."
AT&T sent us a statement, too.
"We are aware of the investigation into GSMA's process for developing eSIM standards that provide a better experience for consumers," AT&T said. "Along with other GSMA members, we have provided information to the government in response to their requests and will continue to work proactively within GSMA, including with those who might disagree with the proposed standards, to move this issue forward.
GSMA had no comment on the investigation.