The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Sprint Nextel, Microsoft, Clearwire, United States Cellular and Time Warner Cable

CHICAGO, July 1, 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 include Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S-Free Report), Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT-Free Report), Clearwire Corporation (Nasdaq: CLWR-Free Report), United States Cellular Corporation (NYSE: USM-Free Report) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC-Free Report).

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Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:

Sprint Debuts Windows 8 Smartphone

Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S-Free Report) has announced the launch of 4G LTE based Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT-Free 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 (Nasdaq: CLWR-Free Report) and United States Cellular Corporation (NYSE: USM-Free 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).

TWC to Expand Data Center

Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC-Free Report), the second-largest cable MSO (multi service operator) in the U.S., has decided to expand its data center base in Centennial, Colo. The project will involve an investment of $85 million. The new national data center is expected to enhance Time Warner Cable's storage and application facility by 75%.

The 170,000 square feet center holds 1,600 million of equipment and is capable of supporting 6,400 kilowatts of critical load. The cable MSO has already allocated 70 employees to the new facility and will have 400 staff, once the data center is fully operational.  

Some of the major functions of the data center include supporting 70 million residential emails, handling the billing records of 15 million customers and backend operations of Time Warner Cable's employees.

The new data center is second of its kind after the company opened a similar center last year in Charlotte, NC at a cost of around $82 million. The two data centers will complement each other and will provide uninterrupted services to residential and business customers.

Major cable MSOs are expanding their data center bases to meet the high demand of video and IP (internet protocol)-based services. Data centers allow MSOs to manage huge amount of data and contents from a central location.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

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