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ROLLOUT: T-Mobile USA to start rolling out its 3G network this year
Posted by Arne Hess - on Friday, 06.10.06 - 15:00:13 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 21446x
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As expected, T-Mobile USA today announced, during a press conference in New York, that the U.S.-arm of Deutsche Telekom will start to roll out its new UMTS-based 3G service in Q4-2006 already.
T-Mobile USA is ideally positioned now to continue expanding its business, after the company acquired a large amount of additional spectrum for data and voice services in the Auction 66. T-Mobile USA acquired a total of 120 licenses in various regional classes around the country for a total of US$ 4.2 billion, or around EUR 3.3 billion. The costs for T-Mobile USA in Dollars per MHz of spectrum per person of population (POP) of US$ 0.63 were considerably lower than in most of the prior frequency auctions in the United States. T-Mobile USA has more than doubled its average frequency coverage in the top 100 U.S. markets from 25.9 MHz to 52.2 MHz. This creates additional room for future customer growth and for the expansion of voice and data services.

"The auction and the resulting acquisition of additional spectrum here in the USA is an important step forward for us. And not just for T-Mobile USA but for the Deutsche Telekom Group as a whole, which benefits from the growth of its U.S. business. We are aiming to maximize revenue market share in the U.S. and make T-Mobile USA the largest single company within the Group," said Kai-Uwe Ricke, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, during the press conference.

The roll-out for the 3G network is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2006 and most of the work will be completed in 2007 and 2008.
T-Mobile USA is budgeting around EUR 2.1 billion for this work from 2006 to 2009. The increase in investment by T-Mobile USA in its network infrastructure will be lower, however, because some investments in the existing network can be reduced as the roll-out of the new network progresses. The total costs of the acquisition of frequency and the construction of the new network will therefore be at the lower end of analysts' expectations voiced before the spectrum auction. The results of the auction do not lead to any change in the Deutsche Telekom Group's announced revenue and profit guidance for 2006 and 2007.

T-Mobile USA is preparing for continued strong growth in the American mobile communications market where the current penetration rate of around 73 percent is considerably lower than in Western European markets. Experts expect voice traffic in the U.S. market to continue to grow two or three-fold in the coming years until 2015, driven in part by continued fixed-mobile substitution. In addition, mobile data business in the United States is also expected to grow considerably. It already accounted for around 11 percent of T-Mobile's average revenue per user in the second quarter of 2006, roughly 3 percentage points higher than in the same quarter of last year.

The acquisition of spectrum in the United States supports the "Telekom 2010" program. Part of this Group-wide program is for Deutsche Telekom's market share in the U.S. mobile communications business to be maximized and to build up the U.S. subsidiary to become the largest single company in the Group. T-Mobile USA has continuously expanded its business to around 23.3 million customers since its acquisition by Deutsche Telekom on June 30, 2001. In the first half of 2006, the company contributed EUR
6.7 billion, around 22 percent of the Group's revenue and 43 percent of the revenue of the mobile communications segment, as compared with 16 and 35 percent respectively in 2004. The contribution to adjusted EBITDA has also in¬creased over the past years from 10 percent of the relevant figure for the Group in 2004 to 19 in the first half of 2006. For the T-Mobile group, these figures are 24 and 40 percent respectively.

T-Mobile USA's high level of service and quality orientation also contributed to this success. In recent years, the company has again and again come out on top of the JD Power Awards, the most important barometer for the image of mobile communications companies among consumers. While T-Mobile USA can benefit in its network construction from the expertise gained in Europe in the roll-out and operation of 3G infrastructures and can realize price advantages in its investments in network systems as a result of being part of one of the largest mobile communications groups in the world, the transfer of the American service culture to Germany will also be driven ahead. The proportion of customer enquiries resolved upon first contact with Deutsche Telekom is to be increased to 80 percent by 2008 as part of the "Telekom 2010" program.

Cheers ~ Arne

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