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Sprint Debuts Windows 8 Smartphone

S MSFT USM

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Sprint Nextel Corp. (S - Analyst Report) has announced the launch of 4G LTE based Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Analyst Report) Windows Phone 8 Smartphones – HTC 8XT and Samsung ATIV S Neo. Customers can avail of HTC 8XT for $99.99 while ATIV S Neo is priced at $149.99. Both devise have a two-year contract. The company has not yet disclosed the release dates for these two phones.

We believe the launch of these new smartphones will not only remain accretive to the company’s smartphone sales but also generate increased market traction for Sprint’s LTE platform.

Other than Sprint’s lucrative deal with Japanese telecom company Softbank, Clearwire Corporation and United States Cellular Corporation (USM - Analyst Report), the company is also heavily concentrating on growing its network platform through its restructuring program –Network Vision. Through this plan, the company is concentrating on the core Sprint platform, which includes CDMA, WiMAX and LTE technologies, and the eventual termination of the Nextel platform (iDEN business).

The company began the deployment of CDMA voice on 800 MHz in the first quarter and is further expected to deploy LTE on 800 megahertz by the fourth quarter of the year, covering more than 250 million customers with 22,000 cell sites. So, in order to support its future 4GLTE rollout plan, the company is continuously launching 4GLTE handsets across its entire footprint.

In the recently concluded first quarter, Sprint lost approximately 415,000 subscribers, representing a net loss of 191,000 in retail subscribers and 224,000 wholesale and affiliate subscribers. Sprint witnessed subscriber churn of 1.84% while the churn rate for Verizon Wireless and AT&T, Inc. was 1.30% and 1.38%, respectively.

Hence, we believe that the successful deployment of 4G LTE services across the company’s footprint coupled with a huge 4G LTE-based smartphone portfolio will not only reduce subscriber churn but will also boost data revenue growth, going forward.

Currently, Sprint has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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