Deutsche Telekom searches for T-Mobile US partner

Having been forced to find a partner for its struggling UK mobile operations, Deutsche Telekom (DT) would now appear to on the hunt for a similar deal for its much larger, but equally troubled, US division.

While DT's head office has formally denied any such move, the well-founded rumours claim that the company is looking for a US partner to help finance billions of euros of investment in high-speed networks. Potential partners being suggested include MetroPCS, Clearwire and AT&T, although a financial investor from outside the telecoms industry is also a possibility. The company is said to be no longer considering a share sale and a takeover of rival Sprint-Nextel.

Hamid Akhavan, DT's COO, said that he expected the difficult business conditions in the US to improve: "We have had some heavy headwinds ... but we are quite optimistic that this trend can be reversed," he said, attributing the problems to a delay in the group securing 3G networks and the population of Apple's iPhone on AT&T's network.

Speculation that T-Mobile US would need to revamp its strategy is not new, but with the company stuck firmly in 4th position - and continuing to lose ground, a solution has become now more pressing.

Separately, the merger between Orange UK and T-Mobile UK has seen Orange claim that the new company will not have to hand back spectrum in order to get regulatory approval.

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