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

Why You Should Be Prepared for Both Inflation and Deflation

James Rickards

Today's investment climate is the most challenging one you have ever faced. This is because both inflation and deflation are possibilities in the near term. Most investors prepare for one or the other. But today Jim Rickards explains why preparing for both inflation and deflation is absolutely necessary. Read on...


The Real Black Friday: When Oil Prices Begin to Climb

Byron King

Byron King observes the real Black Friday. It actually happens tomorrow... the day OPEC meets in Vienna. With wisdom on their side it will be the day they turn the corner to profits in a big way. The outcome of their meeting could be great news for US based oil producers. Either way, the energy revolution in the US rolls on...


Tip of the Day
3 Travel Secrets that Will Make Any Trip More Pleasant

Chris Campbell

Chris Campbell is going home for the holiday. With a storm ready to hit Baltimore, his flight might get cancelled. Inside today's Tip of the Day, he shares his best-kept travel secrets for beating the herd, getting compensated, and upping your chances of getting bumped up to First Class. Read on...


How Retail Investors Could Double Your Money In 14 Months

Greg Guenthner

Stocks keep rising - and people are finally starting to believe this bull market is for real. That means one thing: a lot of ill-informed, rookie investors (AKA retail investors) are starting to come back into the market. And that's creating a unique profit opportunity. Greg Guenthner explains...