T-Mobile Cites 3G Smartphone Gains

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Bellevue, Wash. -

T-Mobile

began expanding its subscriber base again in the fourth quarter, when the number of 3G smartphones on its network grew by almost 40 percent from the third quarter to 3.9 million, the carrier announced.

The expanded smartphone base and the near doubling of the carrier's 3G HSPA footprint during the year to more than 205 million people boosted data-service revenue 19 percent for the year, the carrier said in announcing fourth-quarter financial results. In addition, the company upgraded its entire HSPA footprint to faster 7.2Mbps HSPA technology in the fourth quarter.

The HSPA expansion, improved 3G phone lineup, new rate plans that offer unsubsidized handsets with no contracts, and the planned expansion of faster HSPA+ data service in 2010 beyond Philadelphia "puts T-Mobile in a new competitive position to drive increasing data usage and entice quality customers to T-Mobile," said president/CEO Robert Dotson.

The number of net new subscribers grew in the fourth quarter to 371,000, an improvement over a third-quarter loss of 77,000 subscribers but down from a year-ago gain of 621,000, the company said. For the year, the company expanded its subscriber base by 1 million net new subscribers to 33.8 million compared to a 2008 net gain of 4.1 million subscribers (1.13 million of which were the result of the SunCom Wireless acquisition in February 2008) and 3.64 million net new customers added in 2007.

Fourth-quarter net income fell to $306 million from a third-quarter $417 million and year-ago $483 million. Fourth-quarter revenues of $5.41 billion were down from the year-ago quarter's $5.72 billion but up sequentially from the third-quarter's $5.38 billion.

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