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

(S) - Get Report

buyout.

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

TheStreet.com

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,

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

and

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

were trading flat.

Among European carriers,

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

,

Telecom Italia

(TI)

and

France Telecom

(FTE)

were unchanged. On Tuesday,

Vodafone and Telecom Italia said they have signed agreements

that will bring

Apple's

(AAPL) - Get Report

iPhone to their respective networks.