Report: Deutsche Telekom searching for U.S. partners

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Deutsche Telekom is seeking out partners for its U.S. subsidiary, T-Mobile USA, according to a report in the German newspaper Handelsblatt. The report named AT&T, Clearwire and MetroPCS as possible partners, as well as unnamed financial investors outside the wireless industry.

The report, citing unnamed sources from the German telecom giant, said that the company is looking for a partner to help finance T-Mobile's network expansion. If Deutsche Telekom were to partner with a financial firm, the paper reported, that company might take a minority stake in T-Mobile. The carrier, the nation's fourth largest, is in the midst of building out its 3G network, and plans to upgrade its network to HSPA+ beginning next year to capitalize on the growing demand for mobile data.

In September, both Clearwire and MetroPCS were named as possible partners for T-Mobile USA in a Bloomberg report. That report said Deutsche Telekom was considering partnering with the companies to gain access to their spectrum holdings.

The Handelsblatt report said the discussions about a partner were in early stages, and also said that a possible acquisition of Sprint Nextel is off the table. Rumors swirled in September that Deutsche Telekom was considering making a bid for Sprint.

Representatives from AT&T, Clearwire and Deutsche Telekom declined to comment, while a representative from MetroPCS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The news comes as T-Mobile begins to seriously struggle in the U.S. wireless market. The company's subscriber growth has slowed, and in the third quarter the carrier lost 77,000 net wireless subscribers. Perhaps in response, T-Mobile recently unveiled several low-cost, unlimited service plans.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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