While the latest report from CNBC mentions that Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint all received requests for information from the Justice Department, this morning's New York Times stated that the Justice Department was investigating Verizon, AT&T and the G.S.M.A.
Consumer advocates support the idea of an electronic SIM card, which is in the process of being rolled out, since it allows phone owners to bargain hunt and contract with any network or to shift networks easily while traveling, said Feld. The department issued demands to the companies and the GSMA, a mobile industry standards group, for information on possible collusion, said the people, who asked not to be named because the matter isn't public. In the US, Verizon and AT&T control 70% of all wireless subscriptions. The investigation began five months after one device maker and one wireless carrier filed complaints of collusion to the Justice Department.
"The reality is that we have a difference of opinion with a couple of phone equipment manufacturers regarding the development of e-SIM standards", Verizon spokesman Rich Young said to The Wall Street Journal. "[The issue was] much ado about nothing". "We've been proactively and constructively working with the Department of Justice for several months regarding this inquiry and we continue to do so". The DOJ's investigation could show that the companies along with the GSMA were trying to influence the development of this technology in order to maintain their market dominance.
The antitrust division is looking into whether or not carriers colluded in stifling technology that allows customers to switch providers without having to change out their SIM card.
A newly published report claims Verizon and AT&T are the subject of a Department of Justice investigation. One of its arguments is that a combined AT&T and Time Warner could work with other large players, like Comcast, which owns NBC Universal, to unfairly manipulate prices of cable channels owned by Time Warner. They contend that this merger is anti-competitive and would lead to higher prices for consumers.
CNN's video below covers why the AT&T Time Warner trial matters. "It serves the objective of a physical SIM card and lets consumers choose their carrier [remotely]".
The eSIM technology, which was introduced in early 2016, is embedded in mobile phones and other devices so people do not need SIM cards anymore.
Apple has been including eSIM technology in its iPads for some time now, and began offering it with its Series 3 cellular Apple Watches as well.