Deutsche Telekom's ( DT) fourth-quarter loss ballooned because of a reserve related to a German public works contract, but profitability at its wireless segment remained solid.

Europe's biggest telecommunications concern lost about $447 million in the most recent quarter on a $545 million charge to cover problems at a contract to provide a satellite-based toll system in Germany. That compares with a loss of $95 million last year. The company will omit its dividend for a second consecutive year.

T-Mobile International, DT's wireless unit, said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 40% to $2.09 billion in the quarter, while year-end subscribers rose to 13.1 million. In the U.S., wireless EBITDA rose to $382.5 million from $167.3 million a year ago.

Deutsche Telekom's debt has been a central concern since its purchase of Voicestream. The company said net debt fell by roughly a quarter to $57.3 billion at the end of 2003 compared with a year earlier.

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