NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Speculation concerning a possible T-Mobile/Sprint merger has been ratcheted up after T-Mobile (TMUS) CFO Braxton Carter was quoted as saying that the when it comes to consolodation, "It is not a question of if, it is a question of when."
The timing of the declaration is interesting as SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son makes his way to Washington tomorrow to speak to the Chamber of Commerce. SoftBank owns 80% of Sprint.
T-Mobile is the nation's fourth largest carrier behind AT&T (T)
Bloomberg is reporting that Son will not call directly for a merger during his prepared speech in D.C., but will rather attempt to extol the virtues of consolidation by pointing out that only consolidation could help to unseat entrenched industry leaders Verizon and AT&T and provide consumers with the true competition they are looking for.
This is not the first time rumblings about a T-Mobile and Sprint merger have surfaced. However, momentum for the move was sullied once it was reported that the Department of Justice and FCC would not support a merger. Carter responded to the governmental stumbling block by accusing the FCC and DOJ of hypocrisy for allowing the biggest players to dominate wireless spectrum auctions.
"The government can't have their cake and eat it too. If they think there really needs to be four players in this market on a nationwide basis, they are going to have to put some structural protections to ensure an adequate distribution of spectrum," Carter said.
Both T-Mobile and Sprint stock experienced a downturn last week after the chief executive of Deutsche Telekom -- T-Mobile's parent company -- said that while he was open to a deal, the regulatory hurdles would probably prevent the merger from going through anytime soon.
In the meantime, he insists T-Mobile is on solid footing as a standalone company. "If a consolidation in the U.S. mobile market will take place, we will enter that phase with an open mind, said Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges, "At the moment we have no difficulties to run T-Mobile U.S. on a stand alone basis."
T-Mobile closed Monday up 0.58% at 30.97. Sprint closed up 0.93% at $8.71.