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October 6, 2006 at 5:00 AM

T-Mobile USA talks it up

NEW YORK — T-Mobile USA is holding a press conference with its parent company Deutsche Telekom today in New York to present details on how it expects to proceed after spending close to $4 billion for rights to airwaves in a recent government auction.

Participating will be T-Mobile USA President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Dotson, Deutsche Telekom Chairman and Chief Executive Kai-Uwe Ricke, Deutsche Telekom Chief Financial Officer Dr. Karl-Gerhard Eick and T-Mobile International CEO René Obermann.

T-Mobile USA, the fourth largest U.S. carrier, is expected to announce that it will begin to roll out 3G services, which provides high-speed wireless broadband data to phones and laptops. T-Mobile is the last of the nationwide carriers to begin the network upgrade because it did not have sufficient airwaves to do so until now.

T-Mobile USA was created when Deutsche Telekom purchased VoiceStream Wireless, based in Bellevue, in 2001. Since the acquisition, the U.S. group has been a highlight of T-Mobile International’s growth. By the end of last year, the U.S. division had expanded its customer base by 25 percent for the year, to 21.7 million subscribers.

In February, T-Mobile International’s chief marketing officer, Ulli Gritzuhn, detailed how Bellevue’s T-Mobile and the international division — both subsidiaries of Bonn, Germany, telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom — have started to work together closely. That has included negotiating handsets discounts and sharing perspectives on the industry.

T-Mobile International was expected to help T-Mobile USA with the roll out of 3G since it had already begun to install the networks in some European countries. In the interim, while T-Mobile was waiting for the government auction, the company upgraded its network to a technology called EDGE, which is considered a fast, 2.5G technology, but not true broadband.

At the press conference, the company is expected to field questions from the mostly European media, which came to meet executives of the U.S. operations. Topics likely to be covered included whether T-Mobile USA is partnering with other telecom companies or when it will launch voice over Wi-Fi. Customers who sign up for the service can roam on to a Wi-Fi network to make calls in order to get better indoor coverage.

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