Justice Dept. to Launch Antitrust Review of Telecoms

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2009 2:30 PM CDT
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at panel discussion in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – The Obama administration is looking into the country’s top telecom companies, including AT&T and Verizon, to determine whether they’ve abused their market power with anti-competitive actions, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The Justice Department is concerned that, among other things, the big players are locking out competitors through exclusive agreements with phone producers, as in AT&T’s iPhone deal.

Justice could also look into whether carriers are improperly restricting third-party services on their networks. The review is still in its infancy, and it’s unclear if an official inquiry will follow. But it’s a sign that the administration is taking a proactive approach to antitrust enforcement. One source says the health care and agriculture sectors could be reviewed next.