Sprint Expands 4G LTE Network, Sell-Side Gets Giddy

Sprint Expands 4G LTE Network, Sell-Side Gets Giddy

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) announced today the expansion of its 4G LTE network to over 100 cities across the United States. The company said it would build its 4G LTE network within its existing 3G footprint nationwide.

Sprint’s expects that its 4G LTE will be available over the next few months in Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; Miami; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; New York; Philadelphia; and Washington, D.C. The company says consumers who own 4G LTE capable devices will begin to acquire coverage during the prelaunch period in these areas.

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) will announce the commercial availability of the 4G LTE coverage in the different cities within the next several months. The company is confident that its coverage, performance and reliability will be better.

In a statement, Bob Azzi, senior vice-president for Sprint Network said, “We are committed to delivering a cutting-edge network as quickly as possible, one that provides a greater level of reliability and speed to our 3G and 4G customers. We know our customers depend on their mobile devices as their primary source of communication, business connectivity and entertainment. We want to deliver a network that delivers mobile access, productivity, and entertainment at a highly competitive price point.”

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is currently providing 4g LTE service in 19 metropolitan areas including Atlanta; Athens, Ga.; Baltimore; Calhoun, Ga.; Carrollton, Ga.; Newnan, Ga.; Rome, Ga.; Dallas; Fort Worth, Texas; Gainesville, Ga.; Granbury-Hood County, Texas; Houston; Huntsville, Texas; Kansas City, Mo./Kansas City, Kan.; Manhattan/Junction City, Kan.; San Antonio, Texas; Sedalia, Mo.; Waco, Texas; and St. Joseph, Mo.

Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) is also improving its 3G infrastructure through Network Vision, the company’s network strategy to ensure that its customer enjoy better wireless signal strength, in- building coverage, and fewer dropped/blocked calls.

The company also aims to meet the growing demands in mobile data, which would account 95 percent of the global mobile traffic by 2015, according Chetan Sharma Consulting firm.

The stock value of Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) rose by 4.87 percent to $5.28 per share during midday trading on Monday following Mike McCormack’s, analyst at Nomura Securities rating upgrade for the company.

McCormack changed its rating from “Neutral” to “Buy” citing that the company is “taking the proper actions to improve margins and compete effectively.” Nomura has increased its price target to $7 a share.

Nomura further notes:

We see the US market as a bifurcated environment, with AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) operating at superior scale versus all other participants. Among the sub-scale providers, we believe Sprint is taking the proper actions to improve margins and compete effectively. Refreshed competitor wireless plans show that there is little appetite for aggressive price competition. Lower industry churn rates, in aggregate, highlight what we see as a more benign competitive environment across all carriers.

Another interesting point from the report:

We view wireless competition in the US as stratified: AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ)  at one level, everyone else at another. Sprint competes more directly with T-Mobile and regional carriers MetroPCS and Leap for customers, as shown by their higher relative churn and directly comparable plan pricing. We estimate AT&T and Verizon Wireless are net beneficiaries of difficulties at the smaller carriers, losing far fewer customers than they gain, with churn rates meaningfully lower than Sprint and T-Mobile.

Value investors will note, that when Sprint was at around $1 a share, no one wanted to touch the stock. Now with the stock performing well, all the sell-side analysts jump along the band wagon.