Featured StoryThe buzz surrounding the long-awaited release of a Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) iPhone is reaching a fevered pitch as it appears the telecom giant is ready to bring the device to market.
Verizon is expected to confirm it will start providing service for the iPhone early next year, according to a report last week in The Wall Street Journal.
January may be a strange time to launch the much-anticipated product, but AT&T (NYSE: T) reportedly convinced Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) to give it one last holiday season as the iPhone's exclusive U.S. provider, according to a report in Tech News World.
With millions of frustrated AT&T network users making noise and millions of loyal Verizon customers anticipating the iPhone's release, investors are wondering if the iPhone could give shares of both Apple and Verizon a shot in the arm.
Verizon iPhone On the Way – But Not Before Christmas
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) will escalate the war for smartphone dominance in early 2011 by releasing a new version of its iPhone to run on the popular Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) network, the biggest U.S. carrier by subscribers.
However, the phone won't make it out in time for the Christmas season, as many had hoped.
Apple will be ramping up to mass produce the new touchscreen handset by the end of 2010 and release it in the first quarter of 2011, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal. While the phone would be similar to the iPhone 4 sold by its current carrier, AT&T (NYSE: T), it would be based on an alternative wireless technology used by Verizon, the people said.
The Verizon iPhone will mark the end of AT&T's agreement with Apple that gave the telecommunications giant exclusive rights to market and sell the handset since 2007, when Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone.
Verizon has been testing its networks and capacity to handle the heavy data load by iPhone users, seeking to avoid the kind of bad publicity that plagued AT&T after booming sales of data-hungry iPhones crippled its network.
Buy, Sell or Hold: Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) Gives Income Investors a Reason to Get Wired
Yield-seeking investors who need cash to live on are being punished by the U.S. Federal Reserve's loose monetary policy. The concept of a free market - or of a natural, risk-free rate of return - has been obliterated by the central bank, which has driven the benchmark U.S. Treasury yield down to a meager 2.5%.
So, where can an investor go to find both yield and real assets?
I would suggest looking at components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow is full of companies that pay real yields on their common stock. And right now, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is the highest-yielding stock in the Dow Jones index. The stock is yielding more than 6% per year.
Verizon has a market capitalization of $91 billion and an enterprise value of $144 billion. While the company is fully levered up at the balance sheet, it is generating a staggering $63.5 billion in gross profit. This is one of the largest companies in the world, and should be able to weather the current economic upheaval.
AT&T Rocks Smartphone Industry by Dropping Unlimited Data Plans
In a pioneering move likely to shake up the mobile telecom industry, AT&T (NYSE: T) today (Wednesday) abandoned unlimited-pricing plans for new wireless subscribers accessing data on smartphones.
The changes could lower the cost of service for the vast majority of AT&T's users but potentially raise rates significantly for heavy data consumers. The new plans go into effect on June 7, the same day Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is widely expected to unveil the next generation of its popular iPhone.
By instituting usage limits on what were previously unlimited smartphone data plans, AT&T embarks on an important and long-awaited shift in how carriers bill their customers.
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