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Sprint and T-Mobile restart merger talks

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Wireless carriers Sprint and T-Mobile are in merger negotiations. Again.

Why it's a big deal: Because the third time might be the charm, as it's hard to imagine the two sides would even be talking if there wasn't some sort of possible breakthrough on the issue of combined company control.

Calendar context: The last round of negotiations ended just weeks before U.S. regulators sued to block AT&T's proposed purchase of Time Warner.

Bottom line: The combined company would leapfrog AT&T in size and come in just behind Verizon as the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier. Regulatory approval is the obvious wildcard, but the wireless market is seen as more nationally competitive than cable. Even though Sprint/T-Mobile would remove a wireless competitor, the current FCC shows no signs of wanting to stand in the way.

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