Updated from 12:44 p.m. EDTDeutsche Telekom's ( DT) first-half earnings report -- including a whopping $3.8 billion (3.9 billion euros) first half net loss resulting from acquisitions costs -- is a smoldering reminder of the late '90s merger frenzy. Turmoil over its crushing debt load led to the ouster of CEO Ron Sommer last month. Despite that, the company managed to pare down debt to $62.8 billion in the first half, compared to $69.5 billion in the same period a year ago. Still, it has some ways to go before it reaches its target of $49 billion by the end of 2003. It also indicated that capital expenditures were reduced by 17.6% to $3 billion. The reduction of its debt is likely to come from the divestiture of its money-draining U.S. operations, the nation's No. 6 wireless carrier VoiceStream. VoiceStream accounts for approximately $8 billion of its debt load, according to Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Alexander Trofimoff. That's probably why the company said it's keeping its options open regarding VoiceStream, which is reportedly discussing merging with Cingular. "We are in the midst of a strategic review. It could be more divestments; it could mean some other things, which I won't reveal now," said Deutsche Telekom interim CEO Helmut Sihler during an early morning analyst meeting. "Everybody is talking to everybody?We have a number of options." Sihler told analysts the company plans to make a decision by the end of the year. Cingular coincidentally yesterday announced it planned to lay off more than 2,500 to 3,000 employees, mostly coming from its sales staff, despite its expansions into the congested New York region last month. Cingular told investors earlier that it planned to cut capital expenditures by nearly $1 billion. Perhaps "Cingular cut its capex in anticipation of a deal," Trofimoff said. "