USM to Expand its LTE Devices

Zacks Equity Research

United States Cellular Corporation (USM), a subsidiary of Telephone and Data Systems Inc. (TDS) has teamed up with Samsung Telecommunications America to launch the 4GLTE-based Samsung Galaxy Note II in the U.S. markets.

Although the latest 4GLTE-based device will be available in stores and online by the end of October, the customers can preorder the new device from today onwards.

The Samsung Galaxy Note II with 16 GB memory space will be available at $399.99 (exclusive of an ongoing online discount offer of $100).

The new Samsung Galaxy Note II is based on Android’s latest 4.1 Jelly Bean platform powered with Samsung's Exynos 1.6 GHz quad-core processor allowing smooth multitasking, better gaming and faster navigation experience. It also features an 8-megapixel rear-facing and a 1.9 megapixel front-facing camera with HD video recording capabilities. Moreover, the device also includes 5.5 inch HD Super AMOLED touchscreen offers easy viewing of websites, video, crystal clear pictures and videos.

Few days back, United States Cellular Corporation launched LTE-based smartphone called Samsung Galaxy Metrix. The company in collaboration with King Street Wireless offers 4G LTE service in 31% of its entire market base. These include cities in states like Iowa, Maine, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. U.S. Cellular further plans to expand its 4G coverage to cities in Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. By end of the year, the company targets to bring 58% of its customer base under 4G coverage.

In an effort to support United States Cellular Corporation’s LTE rollout strategy, the company will continue to launch LTE-based devices in 2012 and beyond. In the second quarter of 2012, smartphone sales represented approximately 52% of equipment sales and are expected to remain a key factor in driving revenue ahead. Moreover, these smartphones remain the key drivers of the company’s data revenues as they are backed by U.S. Cellular’s high-speed nationwide wireless networks.

We have a long-term Neutral recommendation for United States Cellular Corporation. Currently, the stock holds a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term Hold rating.

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