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    Top U.S. Antitrust Official Uncertain of Need for Four Wireless Carriers

    The head of the U.S. Justice Departments antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, declined on Friday to support the Obama administrations firm backing of the need for four U.S. wireless carriers.

    Asked about T-Mobiles plan to buy Sprint for $26 billion, Delrahim declined to reiterate the view of President Barack Obamas enforcers, who had said that four wireless carriers were needed.

    Instead, Delrahim told reporters, I dont think theres any magical number that Im smart enough to glean.

    He also said the department would look at the companies arguments that the proposed merger was needed for them to build the next generation of wireless, referred to as 5G, but that they had to prove their case.

    Bill Baer, a former head of the antitrust division, had told the New York Times in 2014: Its going to be hard for someone to make a persuasive case that reducing four firms to three is actually going to improve competition for the benefit of American consumers.