Deutsche Telekom reports decline in home phone lines

Deutsche Telekom, which has struggled with a defection of landline users in Germany, lost more than half a million such customers from October to December, but the decline was offset by better-than-expected growth by its mobile phone unit and demand for broadband internet, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report quoted the Bonn-based company as saying that it lost 537,000 fixed-line customers in the final three months of 2007, bringing its total number of land lines in the country to 31 million for the year, down 6.4% from 2006.

But the company's T-Mobile unit, which provides cellular service in Europe and the US saw customer sign-ups increasing, stoked by its offering of Apple's iPhone in Germany last year, the report said.

It also posted gains in subscribers in the US and British markets, the report added.

In Germany, T-Mobile said it reached nearly 36 million customers by the end of 2007, up 14.5% from last year, with nearly 1 million of them opting for what it calls fixed-term contracts instead of a pay-as-you go model.

Demand for the iPhone was strong, too, with 70,000 of the phones sold since its debut in November. T-Mobile is the only company selling it with a two-year contract. In the US, T-Mobile's customer base rose by 951,000 in the fourth quarter, giving it 28.7 million by the end of 2007, up 14.6% from a year earlier, the report further said.