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T-Mobile UK loses customers in 2008, group sees slowing growth

30 января 2009

A declining customer base at T-Mobile UK was in part responsible for considerably slower growth across Deutsche Telekom's mobile business in the fourth quarter of 2008, subscriber additions dropped across most of its operations.

Deutsche Telekom ended the year with 128.34 million mobile customers, an increase of just 6.3% compared with the end of 2007, the German incumbent revealed as it published its latest subscriber data on Thursday.

Net additions in Q4 stood at 1.68 million, down 55.3% on the 3.76 million the telco reported in the fourth quarter of 2007.

UK was the only one of the operator's mobile businesses to record significant customer losses last year; the U.K. provider saw its customer base (including Virgin Mobile users) shrink by 3% to 16.79 million from 17.31 million. T-Mobile U.K. lost 16,000 customers in Q4.

's T-Mobile Slovensko also reported a full-year decline of 0.8% to 2.35 million. Meanwhile, the largest Q4 loss came from T-Mobile Netherlands, which saw its net adds contract by 18,000. However, the Dutch unit's Q4 numbers were impacted by the inclusion of Orange Nederland customers for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2007; its full-year customer growth stood at 8.6%.

In its domestic market T-Mobile posted 8.8% customer growth to 39.10 million last year, including 950,000 contract customers.

"The successful introduction of the Apple iPhone 3G and the attractive range of calling plans were the main reasons for this development," Deutsche Telekom said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in the
U.S. the telco attributed some of its growth to the launch of the G1, the first handset on the market with Google's Android operating system.
The G1 "met with high demand", in the U.S., the operator said, without disclosing further details.

T-Mobile USA's customer base rose by 9.8% in 2008 to 32.76 million.

This level of customer growth was only surpassed by T-Mobile Hungary, which recorded a 10.5% increase in its subscriber base to 5.36 million.

Deutsche Telekom also reported customer growth at its various broadband Internet businesses, but the decline in fixed lines continued.

The group reported 8% growth in total broadband lines to 15.05 million, and a 6.3% increase in domestic lines to 13.34 million.
10.59 million of its German lines were retail connections, an increase of 17.5% on-year.

But the telco's position in the domestic retail broadband market is under threat.

It claims its share of net additions stood at "around 45%" last year, while it ended the year with a total market of around 46%.

On Wednesday, German cable rival Unitymedia announced that it added 111,000 new Internet customers in Q4.
Deutsche Telekom's T-Home unit added 352,000, down 33.1% on the previous year. 

Alternative players like Unitymedia are heavily promoting their triple-play packages, and Deutsche Telekom appears determined not to get left behind. The telco said that by the end of 2008 "some 500,000 customers [had] ordered the Entertain triple-play offer."

The company also highlighted the growing popularity of Internet TV services in Eastern Europe, noting that its operations in
Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, Macedonia and Montenegro acquired a combined 220,000 customers for their IPTV offers.

Deutsche Telekom lost a further 2.49 million domestic fixed network lines in 2008 to end the year with 28.56 million; losses in Q4 stood at 685,000.
The group as a whole lost 2.73 million last year.

"The number of line losses was at the lower end of the guidance of 2.5 [million] to 3 million issued at the beginning of the year," the telco said.

Источник: Total Telecom

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