T-Mobile said Saturday it has ended merger talks with Sprint after being unable to come to a satisfactory deal.

"The prospect of combining with Sprint has been compelling for a variety of reasons, including the potential to create significant benefits for consumers and value for shareholders, T-Mobile US CEO John Legere said in a statement. “However, we have been clear all along that a deal with anyone will have to result in superior long-term value for T-Mobile's shareholders compared to our outstanding stand-alone performance."

"While we couldn't reach an agreement to combine our companies, we certainly recognize the benefits of scale through a potential combination," Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in a statement. "However, we have agreed that it is best to move forward on our own. We know we have significant assets, including our rich spectrum holdings, and are accelerating significant investments in our network to ensure our continued growth."

Why it matters: The No. 3 and No. 4 wireless carriers had been widely expected to combine in an effort to better compete against far larger AT&T and Verizon.

The two companies have been holding talks on and off for years, having scrapped an earlier deal after it became clear under President Obama that the FCC would not approve any combination of the two. Current FCC Chair Ajit Pai has been non-committal but the Trump Administration has been seen as more open to big deals generally.

A key sticking point this time appears to have been control over the combined company. SoftBank owns a majority stake in Sprint, while Deutsche Telekom has a controlling interest in T-Mobile US.

The move could pave the way for each to seek other deals, possibly a combination with a cable company or another global telecom company. And, despite Saturday's pronouncement, it's also possible the two will reignite talks at some point.

Go deeper

Updated 26 mins ago - World

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrested under national security law

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai at the Next Digital offices in Hong Kong in June. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai has been arrested for "collusion with foreign powers" and the offices of his newspaper raided, said Mark Simon, an executive at the tycoon's media firm Next Digital on Monday.

Why it matters: He was arrested under the new national security law that gives Beijing more powers over the former British colony. Lai is the most prominent person arrested under the law — which prompted the U.S. to sanction Chinese officials, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, over Beijing's efforts to strip the territory of its autonomy.

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 19,861,683 — Total deaths: 731,326 — Total recoveries — 12,115,825Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 a.m. ET: 5,044,864 — Total deaths: 162,938 — Total recoveries: 1,656,864 — Total tests: 61,792,571Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi says states don't have the funds to comply with Trump's executive order on unemployment — Mnuchin says Trump executive orders were cleared by Justice Department.
  4. States: New York reports lowest rate of positive coronavirus test results since pandemic began
  5. Public health: Ex-FDA head: U.S. will "definitely" see 200,000 to 300,000 virus deaths by end of 2020. 
  6. Schools: 97,000 children test positive for coronavirus in two weeks — Nine test positive at Georgia school where photo showing packed hallway went viral .

97,000 children test positive for coronavirus in two weeks

A boy has his temperature checked as he receives a free COVID-19 test in South Los Angeles in July. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

At least 97,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in the final two weeks of July and there's been an estimated 338,000 cases involving kids in the U.S. since the pandemic began, a new report finds.

Why it matters: The findings in the report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association comes as schools and day cares look to reopen in the U.S., with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announcing Friday that school districts in the state can reopen in the fall amid lower coronavirus transmission rates.