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MetroPCS Communications lost a net total of 93,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter, dipping to fewer than 8.9 million subscribers, in the face of increasingly tough competition in the prepaid wireless market.

The news, reported by MetroPCS this morning, comes as Deutsche Telekom moves ahead with its plan to acquire MetroPCS and merge the Dallas-based company with Bellevue-based T-Mobile USA.

It’s the first time MetroPCS has reported a net loss in customers for the fourth quarter, and its third straight quarter of net subscriber losses, according to analyst reports this morning.

Investor’s Business Daily quotes Craig Moffett, analyst at Bernstein Research: “Today’s pre-announced Q4 2012 subscriber results are well below our expectation of a gain of 63,000 and consensus expectations of 50,000 adds. The results from MetroPCS suggest that prepaid (growth) may be rapidly deteriorating and competitive intensity is rising.”

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