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Telecom services provider Cincinnati Bell Inc. ( CBB - Analyst Report ) launched two new Blackberry 4G smartphones, BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry Torch 9860. The new phones will use the Blackberry 7 platform and will be priced at $299.99 and 199.99, respectively, after a rebate of $50.00. Additionally, these phones would include a two-year service agreement.
The new 4G smartphones are expected to aid market penetration of the company’s 4G network. Cincinnati Bell launched its 4G wireless network using HSPA+ technology in early July in the southern part of Dayton, covering Butler and Warren counties. The company’s 4G speed is twice that of its rivals, AT&T ( T - Analyst Report ) and Sprint ( S - Analyst Report ) , and thrice its own 3G networks.
Apart from a strong 4G footprint, the company already enjoys a substantial market share for its wireless services through 3G smartphone offerings with Android, Blackberry and Windows operating systems. Although this will likely impact margins in the near term due to a higher handset subsidy, we believe the increased adoption of smartphones will continue to improve the subscriber base and profitability over the long term.
Further, Cincinnati Bell’s strategy of offering attractively priced service bundles, including customized blends of local phone service, long-distance and broadband Internet access (DSL) have been successful in fending off competition. Additionally, the company’s proactive marketing strategy, along with its well-known brand and strong reputation for offering high quality service should remain accretive to its growth prospects in the highly competitive wireless market.
We are currently maintaining a long-term Neutral rating on Cincinnati Bell. The stock retains a Zacks #3 (Hold) Rank for the short term.
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