The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:AT&T, Verizon Communications, Sprint-Nextel, Google and Apple

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:AT&T, Verizon Communications, Sprint-Nextel,
                               Google and Apple

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Jan. 10, 2013

CHICAGO, Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com 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 includeAT&T Inc (NYSE:T), Verizon
Communications (NYSE:VZ), Sprint-Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S), Google Inc.
(Nasdaq:GOOG) and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:

AT&T Smartphones Reach 10M Landmark

Telecom biggie AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) set a new record with the sale of 10 million
smartphones in the fourth quarter of 2012. The company held a record of
selling 9.4 million smartphones during October–December 2011.

The last quarter of 2012 also witnessed highest sales of Android and Apple
smartphones. On average, the company sold more than 110,000 smartphones daily,
including Android, Apple and Windows devices. With this high sales figure, the
total smartphone sales of the company in 2012 is expected to reach 26.7
million, a bit higher than the earlier forecast of 26 million.

Wireless carriers like AT&T place smartphones on shop shelf at high price as
customers get attracted to the devices that run on advanced technologies and
offer smooth networking experience. The operators shell out heavy subsidies to
the handset manufactures to offer the mobile phones to customers at a discount
under two-year contract plans.

San Antonio, Texas based AT&T will release its full fourth-quarter 2012
financial results on January 24, 2013 after the close of trading. The Zacks
Consensus Estimates for the fourth quarter and 2012 earnings currently stand
at 48 cents per share and $2.38 per share, respectively. The estimates reflect
a respective year-over-year growth of 15.1% and 8.2% for the fourth quarter
and 2012.

We maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on AT&T – the second largest
provider of wireless services in North America after Verizon Communications
(NYSE:VZ). The company, currently, retains a Zacks Rank #3, implying a
short-term Hold rating on the stock.

We remain optimistic about AT&T's growth prospects, driven by subscriber
accretion, higher smartphones adoption, LTE mobile broadband network, iPhone
sales and U-verse expansion that will lead to improved revenue growth.

The company's foray into cloud computing and hotel WiFi businesses is expected
to lead to better profitability. Other positive attributes for the company
include a strategic realignment initiative and healthy financial profile.
However, persistent access line losses, competitive pressures and regulatory
issues will likely weigh on the stock in the coming days.

Sprint Unveils Android Application

Third largest telecom carrier in the US Sprint-Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S) has
launched a music and video application for smartphones running on Google
Inc.'s (Nasdaq:GOOG) Android-based operating system. The latest application
from Sprint's stable is going to distinguish its application portfolio from
that of its rivals.

The latest application known as Entertain Me is located within Sprint Zone on
some select Android-based smartphones running on Sprint's network. The
application allows searching for online music, through partners Spotify and
Shazam and also access video-on-demand services via SprintTV and Movies.

Sprint's TV and Movies, which is powered by MobiTV, provides access to 15
different channels that telecast primetime shows including live NBA and MLB
games. On the other hand, Spotify provides customers privilege to search from
a list of almost 20 million songs. Entertain Me also includes contents like
Sprint Music Plus, Slacker, iHeartRadio and Rampus.

Sprint customers can watch and listen to anything they want to with the
company's recently launched Everything Data plan – priced at $79.99. The plan
allows unlimited web browsing in Sprint's nationwide network.

Downloading and utilizing of application by smartphone users is rapidly
increasing. The average number of applications on US consumer devices soared
28% in 2012. The unprecedented use of application by smartphone customers will
force application developers to come up with many more applications.

According to research firm IDC, at the end of 3Q 2012 Android holds a global
smartphone market share of 75%, way ahead of second place occupied by Apple
Inc.'s (Nasdaq:AAPL) iOS platform, which has penetrated only 14.9% of the
smartphone market.

Sprint wants to capitalize on this exceptional growth as higher sales of
Android based phones, as it will likely translate into higher use of its
applications. However, we believe to gain mass acceptance, the application
should be upgraded to run on other operating systems.

We maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on Sirius XM Radio. The
company holds a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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