On Monday, John Legere leads the quarterly AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) bashing session known as the T-Mobile USA (TMUS) earnings call.

The T-Mobile USA CEO took shots at Verizon on Tuesday after the carrier announced that it had lost 289,000 post-paid phone subscriptions in the first quarter despite introducing an unlimited plan, and Legere is sure to harp on the carriers' misfortune during the call.

In addition to an update on the state of wireless competition, investors will listen closely for any signals about a potential merger of T-Mobile USA and Sprint, which has long been expected.

Aggressive customer offers from T-Mobile and Sprint have created the competitive pressure that caused Verizon's first-quarter subscriber losses and prodded the carrier to finally go unlimited. AT&T will provide its own quarterly numbers on Tuesday.

Combining Sprint and T-Mobile would theoretically lessen the pressure on Verizon and other carriers. But while some of the aggressive phone deals could be a thing of the past in a market with fewer service providers, analysts suggest that unlimited plans are here to stay.

"Consolidation, particularly a move from four to three operators, has been shown to reduce competitive intensity significantly," Seth Wallis-Jones, Senior Analyst with IHS Markit Technology said in an email. European regulators recently rejected the U.K. merger of CK Hutchison Three and Telefonica O2 on the grounds that consumers would have less choice and pay more, while innovation could suffer, he noted.

In Canada, where the Big Three telecoms BCE (BCE) , Rogers (RCI) and Telus (TU) dominate wireless, telecoms enjoy higher valuations than their peers south of the border. "If the U.S. market was to evolve in a similar manner post consolidation, we could see increased pricing power accrue to the carriers," Barclays analyst Amir Rozwadowski wrote in a recent report about the potential for wireless consolidation. Canadian telecoms trade at 8 to 8.5 times Ebitda, he noted, while AT&T and Verizon both trade at less 6.8 times projected 2017 Ebitda.

Even in a market with three carriers, however, Recon Analytics founder Roger Entner suggests that leaders Verizon and AT&T may not catch a break.  

"If you continue to have a hell-raiser like Legere running the combined entity, you will continue to have massive competitive drivers," Entner said.

Editors' pick: Originally published April 21.

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