Sprint Rises on First Day of Trading After SoftBank Deal

Sprint Corp. advanced in its first day of trading since closing the $21.6 billion takeover by SoftBank after getting an upgrade to strong buy from Janco Partners Inc.

The SoftBank deal, and more importantly the acquisition of the remaining portion of wireless carrier Clearwire Corp. that Sprint didn’t already own, gives Sprint some key advantages, said Gerard Hallaren, a Janco analyst.

“They stole Clearwire’s spectrum,” Hallaren said. “There’s a huge amount of value in those airwaves that they got extremely cheap,” he said.

Sprint closed up 2.7 percent to $6.45 in New York, after earlier gaining as much as 14 percent.

The mobile-phone company yesterday guaranteed its offer of unlimited calling, text and data service for the life of a customer’s contract. Unlimited plans have helped Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint stand out from Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc., which have pushed tiered data pricing.

Sprint still has to catch up with rivals on its long-term evolution, or LTE, network upgrades before it can compete on equal footing with Verizon and AT&T, Phil Cusick, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst, wrote in a note today.

“Without a solid network to sell in most cities yet, we see little upside in SoftBank driving Sprint to get more aggressive on handset or service pricing nationwide,” Cusick wrote.

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