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T-Mobile CEO John Legere.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere

Updated at 4:30 p.m. with additional details.

Sprint is abandoning its attempt to acquire T-Mobile, according to a breaking news alert this afternoon on the Wall Street Journal’s website. An initial story quotes an anonymous source saying that Sprint viewed the regulatory challenges as too difficult for the transaction.

Sprint's Dan Hesse
Sprint’s Dan Hesse

In addition, Sprint plans to replace its CEO Dan Hesse, the former Seattle-area wireless veteran who previously led AT&T Wireless and Terabeam, as early as Wednesday, according to a separate report this afternoon by Re/code.

The news follows word earlier today that T-Mobile had turned down a proposal by French-based telecom company Iliad to buy more than half of the Bellevue-based wireless carrier for $15 billion. Sprint had reportedly offered as much as $32 billion buy T-Mobile.

An updated WSJ report says Sprint plans to make an announcement on Wednesday morning. A Sprint spokesperson declined to comment; we’ve also contacted T-Mobile.

With T-Mobile’s customer numbers on the rise, analysts and investors were increasingly calling on the company to delay a potential sale, as reported by GeekWire’s Tricia Duryee.

However, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has made it clear that he sees some type of merger as a potential key to ensuring the company’s growth and success over he long run.

“I know what we’ve done in the last year-and-a-half is a small inkling of what real competition is like,” Legere told GeekWire in June. “In order to keep it going, there’s things we need in the long term — scale, spectrum, etc. And one way to get those is consolidation.”

T-Mobile shares are down more than 5 percent in after-hours trading.

UPDATE: Re/code reports that Marcelo Claure, a Sprint board member and leader of Brightstar, will be named CEO.

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