T-Mobile USA's net income for the fourth quarter of 2008 was $483 million, up from $442 million in the third quarter of 2008 and $383 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Service revenues were up compared to last year, mainly due to contract customer growth and the acquisition of SunCom Wireless.

The company's net adds were in line with what it previously reported - 621,000 in the fourth quarter, down from 670,000 in the third quarter and down from 951,000 in the 2007 fourth quarter. Prepaid made up the majority, accounting for 355,000 net additions.

Still, contract customers comprised 82 percent of T-Mobile USA's total customer base as of Dec. 31, 2008. It ended the year with 32.8 million customers.

In a press release, President and CEO Robert Dotson said the operator in the fourth quarter began to realize in earnest the benefits of its 3G buildout. In the first quarter of offering a widespread 3G service, almost 40 percent of handset sales to contract customers were converged devices, and half of them were 3G-enabled like the G1 with Google and the Samsung Behold.

Churn was 2.4 percent, and blended ARPU was $50 in the fourth quarter. Contract ARPU was $54, and prepaid ARPU was $23.

Growth in messaging continued to be the most significant driver of data ARPU, the carrier said, as customers bought plans that include unlimited voice and data. T-Mobile carried 57 billion messages in the fourth quarter compared with 24 billion in the year-ago quarter.

The average cost of acquiring a customer was $270, down from $300 in the fourth quarter of 2007.

For all of 2008, capital expenditures amounted to $3.6 billion compared with $2.7 billion in 2007. The carrier says its UMTS/HSDPA network now reaches 107 million people in 130 cities.

One of the highlights of the quarter was the introduction of web2go, which is designed to make it easier to view and navigate the Web from basic phones and smartphones alike, the company said. It includes improved search provided by Yahoo! oneSearch.

T-Mobile USA is the U.S. operation of Deutsche Telekom's Mobile Communications Business and is a subsidiary of T-Mobile International. 

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