AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc are under investigation by United States antitrust officials over whether the companies worked with an industry standards group to make it tougher for consumers to switch wireless carriers, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Verizon and AT&T acknowledged the government probe and said they were working with regulators.
Apple Inc AAPL.O and other equipment makers have complained to the Justice Department about wireless carrier practices related to eSIM technology, two sources familiar with the matter said.
Verizon repudiated the claim, arguing a "difference of opinion with a couple of phone equipment manufacturers regarding the development of eSIM standards", but has been working with the U.S. government on the inquiry.
CNN's video below covers why the AT&T Time Warner trial matters.
Curry 'not close' to return; may miss start of 2nd round
Sidelined for the past month with a sprained MCL, Curry is now slated to resume practicing with the Warriors on Saturday. As talented as the other three All-Stars are, the Warriors are a much more formidable team with Curry on the floor.
News of the investigation comes as AT&T is already fighting the Justice Department in court over its blockbuster deal to acquire Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.
Verizon and AT&T are the two leading wireless carriers, with a combined market share of about 70 percent.
The person briefed on the matter told Reuters that other wireless operators potentially received inquiries from the government. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department didn't respond to a request seeking comment.
The source said the Obama administration had investigated similar claims in 2016 but did not take any action.
Harold Fled, a VP of them consumer protection group Public Knowledge, said that he was briefed on a meeting previous year where AT&T and Verizon discussed pushing for device locking, and Verizon claimed that it needed to protect against theft and fraud. Those on the Google carrier do not receive a SIM card when ordering the phone, with service activated and connected during the initial setup process.
GSMA "is a very closed standards organisation", Mr Feld said.