Deutsche Telekom to sale T-Mobile USA unit

Deutsche Telekom AG has decided against selling its T-Mobile USA unit and will instead work to expand the U.S. wireless unit, its chief executive said in a newspaper interview released Friday.

"There is no reason for a sale," CEO Kai-Uwe Ricke was quoted as saying in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

"On the contrary, we are now in the process of preparing for the next step. That includes taking part in the tender for new (wireless) spectrum," he said in remarks posted on the paper's Web site ahead of publication on Saturday.

"America is and remains a growth engine for us," Ricke added.

Only last month, Ricke said he was keeping "all options open" regarding the future of T-Mobile USA, sustaining speculation that it could be sold, the AP reports.

The speculation focused on the U.S. subsidiary's lack of a 3G network and entrenched competition from bigger rivals like Sprint Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc.

Ricke said then that Deutsche Telekom would decide by the end of 2005 how it will proceed with costly investments in a 3G network, either bidding alone or gathering partners for a joint bid to operate one.

"In the United States, we have the opportunity to develop our business in one of the most attractive markets in the world, and that's why it is not decisive for us that we are for now only fourth in the market," Ricke was quoted Friday as saying.

Deutsche Telekom shares were up 1.2 percent at Ђ15.35 (US$12.56) in afternoon trading in Frankfurt.

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