T-Mobile US CEO John Legere (pictured, left) trotted out familiar pro-consumer arguments in a fresh campaign favouring a proposed merger with Sprint, as rumours swirled a key US competition official is open to persuasion.

In a new blog post, Legere argued the dominant tier-1 operators are failing “millions” of customers and accused them of fighting the deal to preserve an uncompetitive status quo.

Legere reiterated claims the Sprint tie-up would unleash innovation and boost competition by creating a stronger third player in the mobile market and putting it in a position to challenge the cable segment.

He added the merger will help the US win the race to 5G and close gaps in domestic broadband coverage, particularly in rural areas.

While T-Mobile and Sprint would still compete without the merger, “it will be a steep uphill battle”.

The comments came as Fox Business reported that Makan Delrahim, head of the US Department of Justice’s (DoJ) antitrust division, is particularly interested in 5G arguments related to the deal as the country squares off against China for mobile leadership.

However, the outlet noted Delrahim has not yet made a decision and a formal ruling could still be months away.

The DoJ is one of two regulatory agencies left to approve the deal: the Federal Communications Commission must also weigh in, but has paused its review until 4 April.