Report: Justice Department drops text messaging inquiry

The Justice Department has concluded a probe into whether wireless carriers colluded to fix text messaging prices, and has decided not to take any action in the matter, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed industry and government officials.

The decision is a win for the major wireless operators, which have argued that they did not conspire to fix text messaging prices. Last summer, executives from Verizon and AT&T appeared before a Senate panel to defend their text messaging prices. The carriers argued that most consumers purchase text messages in buckets rather than pay for the missives individually. The operators argued that such bundling has actually lowered the price of text messages.

Representatives from AT&T Mobility, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless and the CTIA declined to comment on the report.

Despite the close of the probe, the industry is still facing regulatory scrutiny from the FCC, which has opened an inquiry into wireless competition in general. The commission also has been looking into specific wireless industry issues, including handset exclusivity agreements and early termination fees.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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