The CEO of Deutsche Telekom, which owns a majority stake in T-Mobile US – the smallest nationwide mobile operator in the US – backed market consolidation amid fears of losing out in upcoming spectrum auctions.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Timotheus Hoettges (pictured) said that “AT&T and Verizon generate much more cash-flow and have much more traffic on their networks than a smaller player like T-Mobile US. As a consequence they have deep pockets when it comes to spectrum auctions, in which T-Mobile US can’t keep up.”

US consolidation, he concluded, would therefore be “the best option”. “We can’t be the alibi to run an oligopolistic market in the US,” said Hoettges.

Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank, which owns nearly 80 per cent of Sprint – the third-largest mobile operator in the US – shares the same views.

And this week, for the first time, he publicly confirmed his interest in a tie-up with T-Mobile US. The new entity, he argued, would have the necessary scale to compete better with AT&T and Verizon Wireless.

Hoettges declined to say in the WSJ interview if Deutsche Telekom would exit the US market if a Sprint merger went ahead.