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A lengthy effort to combine two of the nation's four large wireless carriers came to a screeching halt over the weekend.

T-Mobile and Sprint announced in separate statements Saturday that they were "unable to find mutually agreeable terms" and ceased merger talks.

Reports in recent months suggested that the third- and fourth-largest U.S. carriers were preparing for an official announcement after agreeing on a deal to give T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom majority control of a combined company.

Although Sprint controlling stakeholder SoftBank Group was open to that structure if it retained some clout, the Japanese telecom giant recently reconsidered its position and moved to call off talks. T-Mobile reportedly sent a revised offer, but merger efforts officially ended shortly thereafter.

“While we couldn’t reach an agreement to combine our companies, we certainly recognize the benefits of scale through a potential combination," Sprint President and CEO Marcelo Claure said in a statement. "However, we have agreed that it is best to move forward on our own."

T-Mobile President and CEO John Legere added that although the combination could offer "significant benefits for consumers," any deal would need to generate more value than T-Mobile's performance alone.

Wells Fargo analysts predicted that after the deal fell through, T-Mobile would seek to clear its 600 MHz spectrum, in hopes of securing "bragging rights for the first national 5G network," as well as pursue higher band spectrum.

"We’ve been out-growing this industry for the last 15 quarters, delivering outstanding value for shareholders and driving significant change across wireless," Legere said in a statement. "We won’t stop now.”

SoftBank, meanwhile, said in a separate statement that it would increase its majority stake in Sprint to no more than 85 percent of the company's outstanding common stock.

"We are entering an era where billions of new connected devices and sensors will come online throughout the United States," said SoftBank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son. "Continuing to own a world-class mobile network is central to our vision of ubiquitous connectivity."

SoftBank recently unveiled a joint venture that plans to invest billions in U.S. cell sites and telecom infrastructure.

Although reports suggested that the companies' positions don't close the door to future merger talks, it’s unclear whether U.S. antitrust officials would endorse further consolidation in the wireless sector.

“Consumers are better off without the merger, because Sprint and T-Mobile will continue to compete fiercely for budget-conscious customers,” University of Michigan business professor Erik Gordon told Reuters.

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