), the second-largest U.S. mobile service provider, will roll out
) 4G LTE Android based Xperia Ion smartphone, effective June
AT&T will be the first carrier to market Xperia Ion,
) first-ever 4G LTE smartphone, in the U.S. market. The smartphone
will be available at $99.99 per month with a two-year
In addition to Xperia Ion, AT&T added two
) Windows Phone -
) Lumia 900 and HTC One X, three Android smartphones - Pantech
Burst, Samsung Galaxy Note and Samsung Exhilarate, and one Android
tablet - Pantech Element in the first half of this year.
We believe the addition of 4G devices to AT&T's portfolio
will boost its competitive position against its major rivals
Verizon Communications Inc.
Sprint Nextel Corp.
). AT&T is riding high on iPhones, Android as well as LTE
handsets that are further driving smartphone sales, leading to
subscriber accretion, reducing churn and, in turn, higher wireless
AT&T is lagging its largest rival Verizon in deploying LTE
services, which currently cover 74 million Americans. The company
expects this number to double by the end of this year and
deployment to reach to 80% of the U.S. population by next year.
Further, AT&T plans to introduce LTE in 12 more markets by this
summer. This will take the number of AT&T's markets to 40 from
the current 28.
Verizon has deployed 4G LTE services in 203 markets, covering
more than 200 million people. The company expects to expand its 4G
networks to 400 markets by the end of this year and the entire
nationwide 3G footprint by mid-2013.
However, AT&T is way ahead of Sprint, the third-largest U.S.
wireless carrier, which is yet to introduce its LTE networks.
Sprint plans to launch its own LTE networks in mid-2012 and expects
to complete deployment by year-end 2013. Initially, LTE services
will be deployed in six markets including Atlanta, Baltimore,
Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio.
We are maintaining 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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