With some European carriers unable to offer their fastest wireless networks on the iPhone 5 because of technical issues, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rival Samsung may be getting some unexpected love. Several wireless operators have begun offering discounts on Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android phones to appease consumers.
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According to Sanford C Bernstein analyst Robin Bienenstock, the inability of the iPhone 5 in connecting with the LTE networks of carriers such as the Vodafone Group (NASDAQ:VOD) and Telefonica SA’s (NYSE:TEF) O2 will push them “harder into the arms of Samsung.” These operators already offer Samsung, LG, and HTC devices that run on their 4G networks, which are based on frequencies other than the 1,800 MHz band the iPhone 5 is compatible with.
“The question for operators now becomes in the near term — how sticky is Apple’s software versus the better speeds of the Samsung Galaxy’s, and how much subsidy will be put behind this,” Bienenstock said.
Operators want to avoid past blunders like Vodafone losing its top spot in the U.K. to O2 after failing to win the exclusive rights to the first iPhone in 2007.
Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom (NYSE:FTE) are among those that are able to offer the Apple device on their highest data speed. In the U.K., customers who want to access the faster speeds will have to wait for the launch of the EE network, a a joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom. EE is set to launch its 4G service in the “next few weeks” on a frequency that is also compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) Lumia line. In addition, with the iPhone 5 only rolling out gradually into countries, Samsung and Nokia will have some time to attract customers to own devices.
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