Sprint reportedly met with Justice Dept to talk T-Mobile deal

Masayoshi Son, head of Sprint parent SoftBank, and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse are attempting to smooth the way toward a merger, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Masayoshi Son, SoftBank's CEO.
Masayoshi Son, SoftBank's CEO. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sprint appears to be paving the road for a merger with T-Mobile.

Masayoshi Son, CEO of Sprint parent SoftBank, and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse recently met with officials from the Justice Department to gauge their views on a deal between the two wireless carriers, according to The Wall Street Journal. They were reportedly met with skepticism.

There have been rumblings of a potential merger between the third and fourth-largest wireless carriers in the nation, with Sprint having reportedly lined up financing and T-Mobile executives saying that a merger would allow them to better compete against AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

But regulators have maintained a preference for four national wireless carriers in the industry, with T-Mobile's resurgence making a good case for the government that all of the current players can both survive and thrive.

CNET contacted representatives from Sprint and T-Mobile, and we'll update the story when the companies respond.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere, for his part, has said a deal would make sense, but noted that the "Uncarrier" campaign wouldn't go away, suggesting a preference to take over a potential combined company, rather than Hesse's team.

T-Mobile has seen a dramatic return to subscriber growth as Sprint continues to languish under a long network upgrade process that has resulted in the company falling behind in the LTE race.

Still, both carriers could -- and will -- argue that neither can legitimately compete against AT&T and Verizon, which control two thirds of the wireless market.