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Expectations are that a deal between Sprint, T-Mobile and Dish Network will be announced within the next 48 hours, whereby Dish would pay around $3.5 billion for wireless spectrum from the two carriers to push through their merger.

Why it matters: In addition to America's mobile market no longer consolidating from four major national carriers to three, this could embolden top U.S. antitrust regulator Makan Delrahim, who looked to be on his heels after being handed his legal hat on the AT&T/Time Warner deal. This comes just as the Justice Department confirmed that it will launch an investigation into the power and behavior of online platforms.

  • Dish also would pay around $1.5 billion for a prepaid mobile business that the merging companies agreed to divest as part of an earlier FCC agreement, and pledge to hold all the acquired assets for at least three years.
  • There had been talk that Amazon had interest in the prepaid business. In general, Amazon just seems to have a tire-kicking fetish.

By the numbers: T-Mobile executives spent $195,000 at the Trump International Hotel after the company agreed to buy Sprint for $26 billion, as disclosed this past March — but DOJ was unswayed by all of those suite stays, let alone the companies' PR strategy of talking up Trump-bait like job growth and 5G leadership.

Between the lines: Elon Musk must be ready to take a flame-thrower to SEC social media regulators, given how John Legere appears to have skated for his misleading — and still available — tweet about DOJ objection to the original deal structure.

Go deeper: 5G is off to a slow start

Go deeper

43 mins ago - World

Putin foe Navalny to be detained for 30 days after returning to Moscow

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Photo: Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has been ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for 30 days, following his arrest upon returning to Russia on Sunday for the first time since a failed assassination attempt last year.

Why it matters: The detention of Navalny, an anti-corruption activist and the most prominent domestic critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has already set off a chorus of condemnations from leaders in Europe and the U.S.

Biden picks Warren allies to lead SEC, CFPB

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has selected FTC commissioner Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Obama-era Wall Street regulator Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Why it matters: Both picks are progressive allies of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and viewed as likely to take aggressive steps to regulate big business.

The perils of organizing underground

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Researchers see one bright spot as far-right extremists turn to private and encrypted online platforms: Friction.

Between the lines: For fringe organizers, those platforms may provide more security than open social networks, but they make it harder to recruit new members.