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T-Mobile, Sprint Head to Court to Defend Merger

An unusual merger trial starting Monday could have long-lasting effects on the consumer wireless market and beyond by potentially upending the federal government’s dominant role in deciding whether corporate rivals can join forces.

T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp., the country’s third- and fourth-largest carriers by cellphone subscribers, are defending their $26 billion plan to merge into a nationwide heavyweight rivaling Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. The would-be merger partners must defeat a coalition of…