The new boss of Deutsche Telekom’s struggling UK mobile arm, T-Mobile UK, says the unit will focus on improving revenue share in the UK market as a strategy for recovery. In an interview with the Financial Times today, Richard Moat – who took over at the unit in June – said T-Mobile UK was aiming to become the UK’s third-largest mobile operator by 2011 or 2012, as measured by its share of revenue. “I firmly believe we have been in fourth place for too long and we have to develop ambition to get away from there,” he said. According to research firm Enders Analysis, O2 UK has a 27.7 percent market share by revenue, followed by Vodafone (24.7 percent), Orange (21.5 percent) and T-Mobile (14.9 percent). Moat said he would look to increase T-Mobile UK’s share partly by increasing its number of subscribers tied to monthly contracts. However, he declined to comment on recent reports that the operator was issuing Apple’s iPhone in order to retain high-spending customers.

The UK unit was partly responsible for Deutsche Telekom issuing a surprise profits warning in April. However, in the German telecoms giant’s Q2 earnings yesterday, T-Mobile UK showed signs of improvement; its EBITDA margin in the UK rose to 17.3 percent in the quarter compared to 13.5 percent in 1Q09, but was still down on the year-ago quarter. Moat forecast that the margin would increase in the third quarter compared with the second, and said he was looking for further improvement in the final quarter of the year. Deutsche Telekom CEO Rene Obermann said yesterday that the new management team for T-Mobile UK will unveil its strategy to strengthen operations in the country within the coming weeks. However, he declined to comment on whether the German firm was still interested in selling the unit, which is valued at around EUR3 billion to EUR4 billion. Moat told The Guardian newspaper: “We are working on the detail of our strategy, with the intention of launching it during the autumn.”