The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
U.S. Closes Wireless Collusion Investigation With No Charges. The Justice Department said Wednesday that it had ended an investigation into possible coordination among AT&T, Verizon and a standards-setting organization to make it more difficult for people to switch wireless carriers. The agency said the groups had agreed to change their practices, reducing competition concerns. In its investigation, which began two years ago, the Justice Department looked into whether the two companies and a trade association, known as G.S.M.A., that sets mobile technical standards had worked together to hinder a technology called eSIM. The technology lets people remotely switch wireless providers without having to insert a new SIM card into a device.
Connected car prices may rise if Qualcomm wins antitrust case: auto makers. The cost of cars equipped with ultra-fast 5G wireless technology is likely to go up if microchip supplier Qualcomm Inc.’s patent licensing practices fail to change, a trade group representing major automakers and two leading automotive suppliers said in court filings on Friday. Qualcomm is seeking to overturn a sweeping antitrust decision requiring it to renegotiate its licensing agreements at reasonable prices. Appeal proceedings in the case brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission are expected to begin in January, but Qualcomm’s opponents are weighing in early to argue that the anti-trust decision should be allowed to stand.
Texas, Nevada drop out of state AG group suing to block Sprint, T-Mobile merger. Texas’ attorney general settled with T-Mobile Inc. (TMUS.O) and Sprint Corp. and will drop his opposition to the $26.5 billion merger, leaving just Democratic attorneys general fighting the proposed combination. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had been the only Republican among the state attorneys general who had argued that the deal to combine the No. 3 and No. 4 wireless carriers would lead to higher prices and filed a lawsuit to stop it. Also on Monday, Nevada said it would withdraw from the lawsuit in exchange for early deployment of the next generation of wireless in the state, creation of 450 jobs for six years and a $30 million donation to be distributed by Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford and aimed at helping women and minorities, Ford’s office said.