The U.S. Justice Department’s investigation into GSM Association, the trade group that has been criticized for making it difficult for consumers to switch cell phone carriers and mobile networks, has been closed.
The Justice Department has indicated that it is satisfied that the group is ready to use its standard-setting process for a more “consumer-friendly eSIM standard,” than the ones that have been set in the past. eSIM’s technology allows consumers to switch wireless providers without having to get and physically insert an identifying microchip, more commonly known as a SIM card.
The GSM Association (commonly referred to as GSMA and the Global System for Mobile Communications) is a trade group that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide. Its membership is made up of approximately 800 mobile operators, including four major carriers in the U.S. market. The GSM Association was formed in 1995 as a body to support and promote mobile operators using the GSM. It sets the standards on eSIM mobile technology.
The probe was instigated by allegations that the standard was set in a way that made it difficult for consumers to switch carriers. As well, it made it harder for new wireless companies to enter and compete in the existing markets.
The Justice Department’s letters did not say which carriers were included in its probe but in 2018, news franchises reported that the carriers included, AT&T Inc., Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Communications.
After the Justice Department looked at numerous volumes of documents, the GSMA released a statement that said, “Its Business Review Letter is conclusive that the agency found no violation of antitrust laws.”
In a letter regarding the GSMA probe, the Justice Department said that it was being closed because the GSMA agreed to change some of its procedures that had been under scrutiny.