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T-Mobile Sub Growth Slows

T-Mobile US Inc. is reporting slowing growth on new customer adds in the fourth quarter of 2008 as operators battle to keep numbers up in the face of a recession.

In that period, T-Mobile USA added 621,000 new customers, compared to 670,000 in the third quarter of 2008 and 951,000 in the fourth quarter of 2007. T-Mobile says that growth was offset by increased customer turnover -- or churn -- compared to 2007. (See T-Mobile USA Has 32.8M Subs.)

The operator now says it has 32. 8 million wireless subscribers in all.

The top-ranked CDMA operator in the U.S., Verizon Wireless , also reported a drop in new customers for the fourth quarter, adding 1.2 million for the three-month period. Only AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has maintained its customer numbers, adding 2.1 million additional users in the fourth quarter. (See AT&T Cuts Capex by up to $3B and Verizon's FiOS Grows, Wireless Slows in Q4.)

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) is the only major wireless carrier in the U.S. yet to report. It is due to reveal its fourth-quarter results after the market closes next Thursday.

Sprint is unlike the other operators, in that it has been losing subscribers for months now. It just unveiled plans to cut another 8,000 jobs to help cut costs. (See Sprint Slashes 8,000 Jobs.)

The European parent company of T-Mobile USA, T-Mobile International AG , meanwhile, has just revealed that CTO Joachim Horn is leaving to "pursue a new professional opportunity outside of Germany." Horn has been a heavy advocate of Long-Term Evolution (LTE) for the operator, suggesting T-Mobile will leapfrog 3G refinements to use the proto-4G technology instead. (See Horn Quits T-Mobile.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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