Deutsche Telekom chief executive believes current U.S. administration would be more favourable to mobile merger than previous government

Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges has spoken out in favour of consolidation in the U.S. mobile market, comments that have naturally raised hopes amongst industry watchers that a tie-up between his company’s T-Mobile US unit and smaller rival Sprint is imminent.

Speaking in an interview published in the German press this weekend, the executive also suggested that the current regulatory regime in the U.S. would be more likely to approve such a merger than the previous administration.

The U.S. mobile market has a duopoly between two major players, who are well ahead of the two smaller players behind them, Hoettges said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag, as reported by Reuters.

"A third strong player would be good for competition," the newswire quoted Hoettges as saying.

The industry has been awash with rumours of a merger between number three operator T-Mobile US and fourth-placed Sprint for the past few months. There was talk of an announcement alongside the quarterly results presentation of one of the two parties, but both presented numbers last week without hosting any sort of conference call. That in itself raised expectations that they are close to reaching a deal though.

The telcos have attempted to merge before, but their last serious bid fell apart in 2014 after failing to secure regulatory support.

This time around, many believe the outcome will be different, including Hoettges.

Republican governments are "more hands-off than democratic administrations," he told Welt am Sonntag.