T-Mobile USA loses subscribers in second quarter

NEW YORK (AP) ? T-Mobile USA continued to lose wireless customers in the second quarter, but did a better job of keeping them than it had during the first three months of the year, when subscribers fled in record numbers.

The No. 4 wireless carrier in the U.S. said Thursday that it lost 50,000 subscribers in the April-to-June period, to end with 33.6 million.

Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG has agreed to sell T-Mobile USA to AT&T Inc. for $39 billion. The deal could close next year, if regulators clear it.

The ailing nature of T-Mobile USA’s business is being held up as one reason it should be approved. As the smallest of the four national carriers, Bellevue, Wash.-based T-Mobile USA seems to have a hard time competing, as does No. 3 Sprint Nextel Corp.

Deutsche Telekom has said it’s unwilling to invest further in T-Mobile USA, leaving it hamstrung as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. carriers, build faster wireless data networks.

T-Mobile USA lost 281,000 contract subscribers, who are the most lucrative. It was the fourth straight quarter of losses in the category.

The carrier also lost no-contract subscribers, but compensated to some extent by adding 300,000 subscribers through resellers. Such subscribers are the least valuable.