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Deutsche Telekom

( DT) said first-quarter earnings surged from a year ago despite a decline in revenue, buoying shares in early trading, but the company did not address rumors of a

Sprint Nextel

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The German telecom giant posted a first-quarter profit of 924 million euros, more than double what Deutsche Telekom earned in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted for special items, the company had a profit of 750 million euros, up from 563 million euros in the first quarter of 2007.

However, revenue in the first quarter fell 3.1% to 14.98 billion euros, down from 15.45 billion euros in the year-ago period. Still, Deutsche Telekom shares were rising 31 cents, or 1.8%, to $17.90.

Deutsche Telekom said the number of its mobile phone customers rose 9.5% from a year ago to 123.1 million. The number was up nearly 2% sequentially. The company also said broadband growth was strong, jumping 18% from last year to 14.4 million.

"Over the first three months of this year we laid strong foundations for the rest of the year," said CEO René Obermann in a statement on the company's Web site.

On the downside, the company said the number of landline users sank 6.3% to 35.9 million from a year earlier, and was down 1.9% from the previous quarter. Additionally, Deutsche Telekom saw a 10.4% decline in total revenue from its business customers.

Deutsche Telekom offered no comments on speculation the company was mulling a bid for fellow carrier Sprint.

The Wall Street Journal

reported early Monday that the planning for an offer was at a preliminary stage, and that management could walk away before making a bid.

"I'm not going to acknowledge any of these numerous speculations," Obermann said on the company's conference call. "We don't comment on those things."

Analysts tell

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that if Deutsche Telekom were to bid for Sprint,

it could offer up to $12 a share for the ailing company


Shares of Sprint were off nearly 2% in early trading. Among other U.S. carriers,


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were trading flat.

Among European carriers,


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Telecom Italia



France Telecom


were unchanged. On Tuesday,

Vodafone and Telecom Italia said they have signed agreements

that will bring


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iPhone to their respective networks.