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T-Mobile USA returns to growth, sees smartphone rush

updated 08:40 am EST, Thu February 25, 2010

T-Mobile USA adds 371K new subs in Q4

T-Mobile's US branch today said it had bounced back from a poor summer quarter. It swung from losing 77,000 customers between August and October to gaining 371,000 total new customers in its fall quarter, which runs between November and January. The result was still much lower than the 621,000 added a year earlier but considered an important turning point.

The American carrier nonetheless saw an overall growth in customers over the past year and now has 33.8 million customers versus the 32.8 million it served a year ago.

Income, however, was noticeably down as T-Mobile's profit dropped steeply from $483 million at the end of 2008 to $306 million today. The company blamed the drops on the higher costs of landing new customers, likely through smartphone subsidies, as well as heavy advertising for devices like the myTouch 3G.

While struggling to return to health, T-Mobile was still particularly optimistic as it noted a dramatic surge in smartphone use. The number of "3G-capable converged devices" on its network jumped 500 percent versus the end of 2008; while likely given that few devices were available at the end of the year before, it was also a 40 percent jump just from this past summer. The results also helped T-Mobile shift more of its new customers towards higher-end plans.

Almost all of the surge in recent came from high-end devices like the BlackBerry Bold 9700, Cliq and myTouch 3G.

Despite the gains, T-Mobile still paled in comparison to larger rivals like AT&T; the iPhone helped it add 2.7 million new customers. Verizon has also negated much of T-Mobile's advantage as a favored Android carrier as the launch of the Droid gave it 2.2 million more subscribers.

In the winter, T-Mobile is pinning most of its hopes on both signature Android devices like the Nexus One and Cliq XT as well as the Windows Mobile-based but extremely high end HTC HD2.



By Electronista Staff
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