The U.S. Justice Department has opened an antitrust probe of potential coordination by AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications, a telecommunications standards organization and potentially other providers to hinder consumers from easily switching wireless carriers, a person briefed on the matter said on Friday.

The New York Times, citing six people, reported on Friday that the Justice Department had opened an investigation about five months ago after at least one device maker and one wireless carrier filed formal complaints with the Justice Department.

The Department and AT&T declined to comment on the report and Verizon could not be immediately reached for comment.

The person briefed on the matter said the Obama administration had investigated similar claims in 2016 but did not take any action.

The Times said the Justice Department sent demands to AT&T, Verizon and the GSMA, an industry standards-setting group, on efforts to thwart a technology called eSIM. The technology allows consumers to switch wireless providers without having to insert a new physical SIM card.

The GSMA declined to comment. (Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru and David Shepardson and Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Dan Grebler)

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