Department of Justice reportedly investigating AT&T and Verizon over collusion against eSIM technology

According to reports, the US Department of Justice UU It opened an antitrust investigation to determine whether AT & T, Verizon and the GSM industry group (GSMA) conspired to prevent consumers from easily changing operators with devices that support eSIM, according to New York Times ] The four main operators received requests for information about the investigation, according to CNBC .

The Times reports that the Department of Justice "demanded" details of the three on possible measures taken to prevent the adoption of eSIM, which allows wireless clients to change operator without the need to insert a card Physical SIM. AT & T and Verizon are accused of working with the GSMA to develop standards that allow them to keep devices locked on their networks, even if using eSIM technology. An unnamed device manufacturer and a mysterious wireless operator complained to the Department of Justice, which led to the investigation. It was reported that additional device manufacturers and wireless companies added those complaints, says The New York Times .

The Department of Justice did not comment on the existence or non-existence of this investigation in The Verge . Verizon spokesperson, Rich Young, issued this comment:

"The accusations on this issue are very noisy and nuts, we strive to provide a better consumer experience." The reality is that we have a difference of opinion with a We have worked proactively and constructively with the Department of Justice for several months in relation to this research and we continue to do so. In the beginning, we will continue to work with federal officials and others in the industry as we strive to find a mutually acceptable solution. "

We have contacted AT & T to comment and update when we receive a response.

eSIM first appeared on smartphones with Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. But at this moment, Pixel's eSIM only works with Google's own Project Fi service, which uses the eSIMs built into the devices to authenticate cellular accounts. Changing physical SIM cards is an annoying task and a burden for users. They should use a clip or similar device to remove their SIM tray and they should also receive a new card each time they change carriers. It could prevent people from changing, especially when combined with blocked devices. Earlier this year, Verizon again sold phones blocked by operators as a response to theft. The company initially blocks phones and will only unlock them once customers complete the activation process. It is supposed to launch a mandatory waiting period this spring, although we do not have that timeline yet.

Sprint also requires devices to be "active on the Sprint network for a minimum of 50 days" before you unlock the device, although for devices launched after February 2015, Sprint will automatically unlock phones when they are eligible without requiring that users send them. a manual request. AT & T requires the phone to be active for at least 60 days. There is an additional warning that users updating their phone will need to wait 14 days before AT & T unlocks their previous device. T-Mobile requires a device to be active for at least 40 days, with a limit of two unlock requests per line per year.

Update 5:15 PM ET, 4/20: Updated to include the Verizon comment. [19659010]