T-Mobile Adds 2M in Q1

T-Mobile US Inc. broke through the 30 million customer threshold in the first quarter of 2008 by adding 2.1 million customers to its overall subscriber tally. (See T-Mobile USA Reports Q1.)

That growth was boosted substantially by the completed acquisition of SunCom Wireless, an event that added 1.1 million customers to T-Mobile USA's total. (See T-Mobile to Buy SunCom for $2.4B.)

In addition, the Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) subsidiary, which is the fourth largest operator in the U.S., signed up a further 981,000 new customers in the quarter.

First-quarter revenues hit $5.19 billion, up from $4.55 billion a year earlier. Net income for the first quarter of 2008 was $462 million, up from $315 million a year earlier.

Average revenue per user (ARPU), however, was down by $1 to $51 compared with the first and fourth quarters of 2007, despite data service revenues rising to an average of $8.50 per customer, up from $7.50 in the first quarter of 2007.

Total data services revenues were $760 million in the first quarter of 2008, with T-Mobile, which has just switched on its first 3G network, noting that "MyFave"-related messaging is helping to drive up those data revenues. (See T Minus 1.)

"T-Mobile USA continues to be a key growth and earnings driver and a centerpiece of our consumer business," stated Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann in his statement on the quarter. "The SunCom acquisition underscores the soundness of our strategy to use smart acquisitions to continue growing our wireless portfolio."

In fact, there have even been some recent rumors about T-Mobile merging with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), although this would be a far more daunting task than the buyout of a local carrier such as SunCom. (See Sprint: 4G & M&A Still Unclear.) T-Mobile's customer numbers follow the solid additions from the two leading mobile operators AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless , which both added more than 1 million customers during the first quarter.

The only fly in the U.S. mobile services sector's ointment is Sprint Nextel, which expects to announce customer losses of more than 1 million next week -- something that will likely thrust it back into the news spotlight following its major WiMax announcement. (See Sprint 'Committed' to iDEN and Sprint, Clearwire Create $14.5B WiMax Giant.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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