UPDATE: An AT&T spokesperson has given us the following response to today's report: “We are aware of the investigation into GSMA’s process for developing eSIM standards that provide a better experience for consumers. Along with other GSMA members, we have provided information to the government in response to their requests and will continue to work proactively within GSMA, including with those who might disagree with the proposed standards, to move this issue forward.”
The DOJ is investigating AT&T, Verizon, and the GSMA over antitrust concerns. According to sources speaking to The New York Times, AT&T and Verizon may have colluded with the GSMA to make it more difficult for people to switch carriers by establishing standards that'd let carriers lock a device to a network, even if it had an eSIM.
eSIMs are a new technology that are built into devices like the Apple Watch Series 3 and Google Pixel 2, and they're meant to make it easier for consumers to switch carriers without having to swap physical SIM cards.
Today's report says that the DOJ's investigation began five months ago after one manufacturer and one OEM filed complaints with the Justice Department. Since then, more device makers and other wireless companies voiced concerns about AT&T, Verizon, and eSIMs.
AT&T, Verizon, and the GSMA all declined to comment on today's news.
eSIM technology can be super helpful because it can make a consumer's life easier if they're traveling overseas and want to use a local carrier or if they're just switching carriers at home. Carriers like AT&T and Verizon would probably prefer customers stick with them and use their service, but we'll have to wait and see if the DOJ determines that AT&T and Verizon actively tried to make it harder for customers with eSIM devices to switch networks.