The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AT&T, Nokia, Microsoft, Apple and Google - Press Releases

By Zacks Equity Research,

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - March 28, 2012 - announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include AT&T Inc. ( T ), Nokia Corporation ( NOK ), Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ), Apple Inc. ( AAPL ) and Google Inc. ( GOOG ).

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Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

AT&T Debuts Windows Phone

The second-largest U.S. mobile service provider AT&T Inc. ( T ) will sell Nokia Corporation 's ( NOK ) "Lumia 900" smartphone from April 9 onwards. The handset will be available for $99.99 with a two-year contract.

AT&T is the first ever carrier to offer 4G LTE Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT ) Windows Phone and has the exclusive right to sell the product. The company will also sell another Windows Phone - HTC Titan II - from HTC Corp for $199.99.

The devices will offer mobile broadband speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G.

AT&T is already riding high on Apple Inc. 's ( AAPL ) iPhones (4 and 4S), Google Inc. 's ( GOOG ) Android as well as LTE handsets, which are driving smartphone sales, leading to subscriber accretion and reduced churn. AT&T launched three new BlackBerry smartphones--Bold 9900, Torch 9860 and Curve 936 and three 4G LTE-capable smartphones--HTC Vivid, Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket and LG NitroTM HD during the fourth quarter of 2011.

The LTE smartphone portfolio also includes five Android LTE handsets--Pantech Burst, Sony Xperia ion, Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket HD, and Samsung Exhilarate, and one Android tablet-Pantech Element. We believe the addition of 4G devices to the portfolio will boost AT&T's competitive position.

AT&T has collaborated with Zynga, a popular Web-based social gaming company to offer mobile social gaming options on its Android-based smartphones and tablets. Increased traction of iPhones and 4G LTE devices is expected to enhance post-paid wireless ARPU by 2% this year. Additionally, wireless margins are expected to rebound to the 40% level driven by continued top-line growth, operating efficiencies, new data pricing plans and the new handset upgrade policy.

However, AT&T is lagging its largest rival Verizon in deploying LTE services, which were available to 74 million Americans at year-end 2011. AT&T expects this coverage to double by the end of 2012 and deployment to reach to 80% of the U.S. population by 2013. As of January 23, Verizon deployed 4G LTE services in 195 markets, covering more than 200 million people. Verizon expects to expand its 4G network to its entire nationwide 3G footprint by mid-2013.

We prefer to maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on AT&T. The company retains the Zacks #3 (Hold) Rank for the short term (1-3 months).

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APPLE INC ( AAPL ): Free Stock Analysis Report
GOOGLE INC-CL A ( GOOG ): Free Stock Analysis Report
MICROSOFT CORP ( MSFT ): Free Stock Analysis Report
NOKIA CP-ADR A ( NOK ): Free Stock Analysis Report
AT&T INC ( T ): Free Stock Analysis Report
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing Stocks
Referenced Stocks: AAPL , GOOG , MSFT , NOK , T

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