AT&T, Verizon Face DOJ Investigation Over Lock eSIMs

Posted by at 6:11 am on April 23, 2018

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating AT&T and Verizon for secretly colluding to put carrier-locking ability into the new eSIM industry standard, according to theĀ New York Times.

eSIM technology eliminates the physical SIM card that gives a phone its number and identity on the network, replacing it with a virtual SIM that can be loaded and replaced over the network.

The Apple Watch and Pixel 2 already include eSIM, but the standard is new and evolving.

As originally designed, eSIM could make it easier for consumers to switch their existing phone to a different wireless carrier.

AT&T and Verizon are accused of secretly colluding with the GSMA standards group to alter the standard so that eSIM phones could be locked to one carrier. Such a move could be harmful to smaller carriers, and thus the alleged collusion could run afoul of antitrust laws.

The Justice Department investigation started when both a phone maker and another carrier filed formal complaints.

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