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November 8, 2005 8:01 pm

T-Online lifts number of DSL customers

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T-Online, Europe?s largest internet service provider, between July and September gained almost twice as many new customers for high speed web access as United Internet, its biggest competitor in Germany.

The internet unit of Deutsche Telekom slashed prices for digital subscriber lines by up to two-thirds this summer, boosting the number of DSL-customers in its vital home-market by 342,00 to 4m by the end of the third quarter.

Though the price cuts saw T-Online?s profit tumble, analysts said the company was winning customers after months of losses to cheaper rivals. ?It has made clear that it?s looking at market share over profit?, said Marcus Sander at Sal.Oppenheim.

Net income fell 73 per cent from ?86.6m in the third quarter 2004 to ?23.4m this year, while sales rose 4.2 per cent from ?485.2m to ?505.8m. Rainer Beaujean, chief executive, said T-Online would ?keep up the pressure? on rivals.

German competitor United Internet said on Monday its subscriber base grew by 190,000 to 1.53m in July, August and September, with net income of ?15.7m and sale of ?207.9m both up by two-thirds from the same period last year.

Stronger subscriber growth nonetheless enabled T-Online to maintain its goal of counting every second high speed internet user in Germany as a client.? With 52 per cent subscriber share, it lies ahead of its big rival?s 20 percent.

Deutsche Telekom wants to buy out minority shareholders inT-Online?to integrate?it and?13.8m customers?with T-Com, its ailing fixed-line operation. But this has been hampered by court cases opposing the move brought byT-Online shareholders.

Kai-Uwe Ricke, Telekom chief executive, this summer complained the delay was eroding T-Com?s sales as ever more customers switched to the internet for telephone services. He will present DT?s third quarter data on Wednesday.??

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