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UPDATE 2-German Ops Drive D. Telekom's Q3, U.S. Stutters

Thursday, 04 Nov 2010 02:00 PM

* Q3 EBITDA down 9.2 pct to 5.02 bln eur, in line with fcasts

* Sales 4.1 pct lower to 15.6 bln eur, also in line

* Says lost more U.S. customers on lack of iPhones

* German mobile data sales up 27 pct

* Shares down 2 pct vs 1.5 pct rise in blue-chips

(Adds CEO, CFO, analyst comment, share price)

By Nicola Leske

FRANKFURT, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom's struggling U.S. unit kept investors worried as the German company confirmed its outlook on the back of surging demand for mobile data in Germany via smartphones and mobile devices.

Deutsche Telekom stock was down 2 percent by 1142 GMT at 10.24 euros, making it one of the biggest losers in Germany's blue-chip DAX index, which gained 1.5 percent.

Unlike in Germany, T-Mobile USA does not offer Apple's iPhone to customers in the U.S. and that resulted in higher customer churn, Chief Executive Rene Obermann said in a conference call with journalists on Thursday.

T-Mobile USA is the No. 4 operator in the U.S., where AT&T is the exclusive iPhone provider and where the German company has lost ground to bigger and smaller rivals.

Obermann said T-Mobile USA was reviewing its options to gain additional spectrum in a move to catch up rivals. Some analysts worried U.S. operations will not improve in the near term.

"The US segment does not show any signs of a substantial and lasting recovery. We believe the capital market will interpret Q3 results slightly negatively," DZ Bank analyst Joeri Sels said.

ING said in a note: "The US unit remains the primary credit concern although management has given little indication of the way forward with this division."

In Germany, Deutsche Telekom's biggest market, mobile data sales increased 27 percent, while 53 percent of devices sold were smartphones, the Bonn-based company said.

Like other European telecom operators, which have weathered the global downturn by cutting costs, it is slowly beginning to reap the benefits from mobile data growth.

It said it aims to almost double sales to 29 billion euros ($40.70 billion) by 2015 by growing services around the mobile Internet as well as through cloud computing, IPTV, web hosting, metering and enabling connectivity across all devices.

HUNGARY HIT

In the third quarter, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were 5.02 billion euros, down 9.2 percent, in line with analyst expectations.

Sales were down 4.1 percent at 15.6 billion euros.

The group reiterated it aims to reach some 20 billion euros in adjusted EBITDA this year and generate free cash flow of at least 6.2 billion euros.

Obermann said the company's net profit will be hit by new taxes in Hungary of 100 million euros this year and next.

Hungary's government has announced taxes from 2010 on banks, retailers and the telecom and energy sectors to fix its budget.

In Greece, where Deutsche Telekom owns 30 percent of OTE, Chief Financial Officer Timotheus Hoettges said that "the situation remains tense" but was not deteriorating.

OTE, the biggest telecoms company in southeast Europe, reported a 24 percent annual drop in third-quarter profit, hurt by competition in its austerity-hit markets.

Obermann eased potential investor concerns about dividends by saying Deutsche Telekom was sticking to its plans to pay at least 0.70 euros per share between 2010 and 2012 and buy back stock, at a total cost of 3.4 billion euros per year.

($1=.7126 Euro)

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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* Q3 EBITDA down 9.2 pct to 5.02 bln eur, in line with fcasts * Sales 4.1 pct lower to 15.6 bln eur, also in line * Says lost more U.S. customers on lack of iPhones * German mobile data sales up 27 pct * Shares down 2 pct vs 1.5 pct rise in blue-chips (Adds CEO, CFO,...
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