Justice Department reviewing big telecom

The Justice Department is starting a review of whether the largest U.S. telecommunications carriers engage in anticompetitive behavior, reports the Associated Press based on a story in the Wall Street Journal. The inquiry, as yet informal, might look at whether consumers are hurt by the long-term exclusivity agreements that carriers such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless sign with cell phone makers. The Federal Communications Commission has already said it will look into exclusive handset deals. Most exclusivity agreements last for six months or less, but AT&T is still the only U.S. carrier to sell Apple Inc.’s iPhone two years after the first model’s launch, which has drawn attention. The Justice Department also could look into whether carriers are unduly limiting the applications they allow to run on their wireless networks. The carriers generally don’t allow applications such as TV streaming, saying they would take up too much air time and slow down access for other users…

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