T-Mobile 2008 subs growth hit by poor last quarter

New subscriber figures from Deutsche Telekom show that it added 7.6 million net new mobile subscribers in 2008, pushing its total mobile customer base up 6.3% year-on-year to 128.3 million. However, the annual growth was tempered by a weak fourth quarter, which saw net additions fall by 55% compared to the same period a year earlier.

The US and Germany, grew by 9.8% (to 32.8 million) and 8.8% (to 36 million), respectively, though both saw net additions decline in the final quarter. The UK stood out as the operator's weakest market in 2008, with subscribers declining 3% over the year, a net subscriber loss of 526,000.

T-Mobile attributed its successes to tariffs such as 'MyFaves' in the US, and the strong uptake of handsets such as Apple's iPhone 3G and the Android-based T-Mobile G1.

However, some analysts noted that the company's mobile division had underperformed compared to its other businesses. 'The main disappointment came from the mobile side, whereas domestic broadband/fixed network performed ahead of our expectations,' Dexia analyst Rob Goyens told Bloomberg.