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CEO Says T-Mobile Could Shift To Business Users

T-Mobile USA, now the smallest nationwide carrier in the U.S., could create a new business unit that will focus on attracting business users, the CEO of its German parent company was quoted as saying Tuesday.

Kai-Uwe Ricke, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, told the Financial Times that T-Mobile USA won't attempt to acquire regional carriers in the U.S. to get larger in light of the merger of Sprint and Nextel. T-Mobile has about 17 million U.S. subscribers, placing it a distant fourth behind Cingular, which recently bought AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless and the combined Sprint and Nextel, which recently announced they would merge. But Ricke said the U.S. company, which is quite profitable, has no need to grow simply to keep up with its competitors.

"It does not matter whether you have four, five or six players, as long as our positioning is right, and as long as we have the critical mass," Ricke was quoted in Financial Times as saying. He said that T-Mobile USA's 17 million subscribers gives it critical mass and predicted 20 million subscribers by the end of 2005.

The company has grown in the U.S. by appealing to consumers and small and medium-sized businesses.

"As such, we do not actually compete with Cingular or Verizon in a lot of areas," Ricke said. He added, however, that the company could expand beyond its current target audience.

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