As far as the wireless carriers are concerned, Verizon
For a relatively technologically sophisticated consumer like myself, next-generation coverage is of paramount importance. Fortunately for Sprint, the bulk of subscribers might not fall into the same category.
Piper Jaffray analyst Christopher Larsen was out today with some bullish comments on Sprint, reiterating his "overweight" rating on shares, the equivalent of a "buy." In addition, Larsen is boosting his price target from $5 to $6, meaning he still thinks Sprint has some momentum in it even as it has more than doubled from its low of $2.10 set just six months ago.
The firm conducted a survey of roughly 3,000 online participants regarding their perception of 4G networks, carriers, and the upcoming iPhone. Of the respondents, a whopping 47% believed they didn't need 4G data speeds, 26% don't know the difference between the various 4G standards and consider them all the same, and just 15% think LTE is the best.
That implies that a large chunk of potential iPhone 5 buyers will probably overlook Sprint's LTE disadvantage, and could potentially be more interested in pricing and unlimited data, where Sprint has advantages. Larsen concludes that Sprint's smaller LTE network won't negatively affect the carrier's iPhone sales. Saying the next iPhone won't hurt Sprint is almost like saying it'll help.
Additionally, the survey shows that Verizon is set to gain iPhone market share, with 44% of respondents interested in Big Red, 29% voting for Ma Bell, and 14% siding with Little Yellow.
Larsen concludes by saying Sprint's management is on track with its turnaround, with recent results as evidence of its progress.
The iPhone's importance to carriers shows how much weight Apple pulls in the smartphone market, which is why its run isn't over. Sign up for The Motley Fool's brand new Apple research service, and you'll get a detailed report on everything current or prospective shareholders should know, as well as key updates as news develops.
Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Verizon Communications, AT&T, and Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.