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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.

Go deeper

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Pay TV's bleak post-pandemic outlook

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the Pay-TV industry, and with the near-term future of live sports in question, there are no signs of it getting better in 2021.

Why it matters: The fraught Pay-TV landscape is forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.

58 mins ago - World

Biden sets his sights on China

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images  

The new administration's first few moves and statements on China suggest that President Biden may continue some of the Trump era's most assertive policies.

Why it matters: China's severe domestic repression, its dramatic rise as a technological superpower, and its increasingly aggressive actions around the globe mean that the world expects the American president to take action.