Foreign Influences: Good Call

T-Mobile's U.S. sales are sustaining its struggling German parent, but a big American shareholder isn't happy

In 2001, the former German telephone monopoly Deutsche Telekom took a leap of faith across the Atlantic and bought an upstart U.S. mobile-phone company called VoiceStream Wireless for $46.5 billion. Telekom's management was excoriated for paying an exorbitant price for the smallest operator in a crowded market, dwarfed by giants Cingular, Verizon and Sprint. But the bet paid off. Today, the U.S. arm of T-Mobile, the German mother ship's wireless unit, is still ranked fourth, but it is the fastest-growing part of the $75 billion company and well on its way to becoming Telekom's largest revenue source. In the first half of...

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