AT&T and Verizon are under Department of Justice investigation concerning antitrust violations for allegedly trying to lock eSIM technology preventing customers from easily switching carriers without inserting a new SIM card.
The two companies have been accused of colluding with the G.S.M.A., a mobile industry standards-setting group, to try to establish standards that would allow the carriers to lock a device to their network even if it had eSIM technology, six anonymous sources told the New York Times.
The investigation was launched nearly five months ago after at least one device maker, allegedly Apple, and one wireless carrier filed formal complaints with the Justice Department.
G.S.M.A. confirmed to the publication that it had developed an eSIM standard which would allow a carrier to lock a device to its network but said the standard was put on hold pending the DOJ investigation.
A Verizon spokesperson told The Times that it was working with the Justice Department because of “a difference of opinion with a couple of phone equipment manufacturers regarding the development of eSIM standards,” and that the issue was “much ado about nothing.”