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U.S. telecom regulators divided on Sprint, T-Mobile deal: WSJ

People walk past a Sprint store in New York December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
People walk past a Sprint store in New York December 17, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) - Democratic members of the Federal Communications Commission may be divided over how they view the possible Sprint Corp merger with T-Mobile US Inc , the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has acknowledged that Sprint and T-Mobile may not remain viable as independent companies in meetings with people on Wall Street and in the telecom industry, the people said.

Though Rosenworcel's sentiment about the future of the companies may indicate a schism with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, her comments may not necessarily translate into willingness to vote in favor of the deal, if a merger is proposed.

Sprint's parent, SoftBank Corp <9984.T>, has been waging a campaign to promote consolidation in the U.S. wireless sector while seeking to buy T-Mobile. Investors are closely watching for a possible merger, and how it might affect the two larger carriers, Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc .

Both Wheeler and U.S. Justice Department antitrust chief William Baer have been skeptical about the potential merger between the No. 3 wireless provider and No. 4 rival T-Mobile.

(Reporting by Mridhula Raghavan in Bangalore and Alina Selyukh in Washington)

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