T-Mobile USA adds customers in 3rd quarter

The Associated Press
Thursday, November 4, 2010; 7:40 AM

NEW YORK -- T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest U.S. wireless carrier, on Thursday said it added subscribers in the third quarter after two quarters of losses.

Small quarter-by-quarter losses and gains have essentially stabilized T-Mobile's customer base at 33.8 million after a decade of rapid growth. Other phone companies are also seeing a slowdown in growth since nearly everyone now has a cell phone, but the two largest ones, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless, still manage to add subscribers.

Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile added 137,000 customers in the July to September period, mostly on "prepaid" terms, which are less lucrative.

It said its net income fell 23 percent to $320 million from $417 million a year ago. Revenue slipped 0.5 percent to $5.35 billion.

Parent company Deutsche Telekom delisted its shares from the New York Stock Exchange in June, a move it said was aimed at lowering administrative costs. The shares continue to trade on the Frankfurt exchange, where they fell 1.9 percent on Thursday.

T-Mobile USA's longtime CEO, Robert Dotson, was replaced three weeks ago by Philipp Humm, who headed Deutsche Telekom's German wireless arm from 2005 to 2008. As originally announced in May, Humm was not supposed to replace Dotson until February.

On Tuesday, T-Mobile launched an aggressive ad campaign to promote its upgraded wireless broadband network. Though based on what the industry considers upgraded 3G technology, T-Mobile is calling it a "4G" network. That has irritated Sprint Nextel Corp., whose Clearwire Corp. subsidiary is building a network using what is more commonly considered 4G technology.

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