The FCC's 600 megahertz spectrum auction is ending just as the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is taking office, and analysts think that this state of affairs may be conducive to a commonly rumored merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, which could start a huge chain reaction in the industries regulated by the FCC. While the auction continues, bidders are forbidden to discuss any deals that could influence bidding in any way, including mergers and acquisitions. Analysts have long talked about the possibility and potential benefits of a merger between the country's third and fourth largest wireless carriers, and now they're speculating about the possibility of such a merger starting a chain reaction in the industry.
Despite both companies saying that nothing is going on at this time, a merger between the Un-Carrier and the Now Network is one of the most frequently rumored deals in the wireless space right now, and it's not hard to see why. The timing for both companies would be great as they're both on the verge of massive network restructuring, T-Mobile's meteoric rise in the space is beginning to plateau, and Sprint is only now coming into profitability after being bought by SoftBank and led strategically for the past few years. A merger between the two at this stage would give them both more room to reframe their networks for 5G, would give Sprint more cash to play with, and would provide users of both networks with better coverage and network reliability, as any user of Google's Project Fi can confirm.
On a less specific note, the climate in the wireless industry is soon to become ideal for large-scale deals. New FCC chairman Ajit Pai, handpicked by President Donald Trump, is not only fighting to do away with net neutrality but is also encouraging massive deregulation across a number of FCC-regulated industries. Once the spectrum auction is over, companies will likely be free to operate without much scrutiny. If the treatment of the merger between AT&T and Time Warner is any indication, the FCC also won't be getting in the way of any other possible mergers between telecom giants.