Jonas Elmerraji

With the market volatility and poor economic data ruling the market in the last few months, it’s no surprise that many investors see this part of 2010 as a time to flee the scariness of stocks for more stable assets. But they’re dead wrong…

Many industries are starting to become oversold once again, and opportunities abound for value investors in 2010. One of those industries is wireless communications…

Cellular stocks have been getting a lot of good attention of late, and it’s no surprise why. The hype over the next new cell phone models – like the iPhone 4 or HTC Evo – has had consumers shelling out big bucks in both acquisition costs and high-margin data contracts. At the same time, consumers are eschewing fixed-line alternatives for their cell phones, opting to keep connected to a single number whether they’re at home or in the car.

US Cell Phone Subscriber Growth

In turn, that increasing reliance on cell phones has made them significantly more common in the US over the course of the last decade – where only around one in three Americans owned cellular phones in the year 2000, the number of cellular subscribers is quickly approaching a ratio of one-to-one!

And the end isn’t yet in sight… According to industry think tank IE Market Research, wireless subscribers are expected to grow another 27.5% in the next four years.

For carriers, that accelerating subscriber growth has fundamentally changed their businesses. Where the income statements of telecom giants like AT&T and Verizon were once dominated by fixed-line services, wireless customers now make up the bulk of each company’s revenues. But as the cellular market becomes increasingly saturated and wireless services become further commoditized, it’s likely we’ll see the margins of most carriers get squeezed.

More attractive is the cellular infrastructure market – the companies that exist to build out and support the massive cellular networks that span the country. Increasing numbers of subscribers (particularly high-end, data-hungry subscribers) mean that older networks aren’t keeping up with the speed and throughput requirements of US customers. To stay competitive, the carriers are forced to shell out massive amounts of cash.

How much? In 2011 infrastructure spending is expected to hit $40.3 billion, a 6.7% rise over last year. And unlike the cellular carrier business, which is dominated by mega-cap blue chips like AT&T, many of the companies that service cell carriers are small, growth-oriented firms.

A couple familiar names to small-cap investors would include Neustar (NYSE:NSR, $22.80), a wireless communications clearinghouse, and FibreTower (NASDAQ:FTWR, $3.63), which provides facilities-based backhaul services to wireless carriers. While I do think that all of the firms that operate in this business will see at least some benefits from organic cellular subscriber growth, I also believe that some are much better equipped to benefit from that growth than others…

I recently recommended shares of a fascinating small cap telecommunications firm to my Penny Stock Fortunes subscribers…and I am actively monitoring opportunities in this rapidly growing sector. Remember, even in a slow-growth economy, a few select industries will still prosper. The cellular infrastructure industry is likely to be one of them.

Sincerely,

Jonas Elmerraji
for The Daily Reckoning

Jonas Elmerraji

Jonas Elmerraji, CMT, is the editor of STORM Signals and Penny Stock Fortunes. Jonas got his start on the fundamental side of the market, poring over financial statements and valuations to find sound investments today, he specializes in blending fundamental and technical analysis. Jonas is a senior contributor to TheStreet.com, and has been featured as an investment expert in Forbes, Investors Business Daily, and CNBC.com among others.

Jonas holds a degree in financial economics from UMBC and the Chartered Market Technician designation.

Recent Articles

Your Chance to Cash In on a Massive Infrastructure Overhaul

Josh Grasmick

Since the Internet boom of the 1990s, Internet infrastructure has not had a major upgrade in carrying capacity. Now, for the first time in more than a decade, an immense spending cycle is about to be set in motion, and it's aimed at upgrading those "old pipes." Josh Grasmick explains how you can get in on the ground floor of this investment trend...


Laissez Faire
How Bitcoin Can Simplify Your Dinner Plans

Jeffrey Tucker

The best use of a new technology is to solve an old problem you never gave much thought to. It's these problems that become so common, people naturally come to accept them. Now Bitcoin is doing just that, by helping to solve some of the simplest (and most common) problems people face... like splitting a dinner bill. Jeffrey Tucker explains...


Get Ready for Coal’s Big Comeback

Greg Guenthner

Over the past three years, few investments have performed worse than coal. Investors hate it because coal stocks bring them nothing but pain. Environmentalists hate coal because it pollutes. And the list goes on. But recent price action suggests that some of those attitudes might be changing. Greg Guenthner explains...


Bill Bonner
An Easy Way to Avoid Pig-Headed Mistakes

Bill Bonner

Taken individually, most people perform relatively well in their daily lives. They get up, drive to work and interact with various other people, largely without incident. But when big groups of people get together, they can be incredibly pig-headed, demanding "action" when the best course of action would simply be inaction. And before you know it, chaos ensues. Bill Bonner explains...


Attack on America’s Most Important Pipeline

Byron King

America's most precious resource isn't oil, natural gas, gold or any other commodity. But it travels through an extensive pipeline that, if severed, could signal an unprecedented breach in U.S. security. What is this pipeline, and why is it so imperative that the U.S. take steps to protect it? Byron King explains...