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

Extra!
6 Reasons You’ll Love Being a Late-Stage Investor

Matthew Milner

When investing in a private company, there are two kinds of investors: early-stage and later-stage. And while early-stage investors have more upside potential, they're also exposed to far more risk. Today, Matthew Milner explains how you can be a successful later-stage investor, and still make great gains, with much less risk. Read on...


Video
How to Predict an Economic Collapse

Kate Incontrera

In his recently released book, A Viennese Waltz Down Wall Street, Mark Skousen gives the Austrian School's take on what triggered the 2008 financial crisis - and why you should be wary of the artificial boom that's driving the recovery.


Laissez Faire
Why Heartbleed Will Change the Internet as You Know It

Mike Leahy

The Heartbleed bug is a massive security flaw that could put you and your personal information at risk. And while there are things you can do to limit the damage, you haven't yet seen the ramifications of this security disaster. The Internet in the post-Heartbleed world won't look like anything you've seen before. Mike Leahy explains...


Big Opportunity in the “Baby Bakken” Oil Field

Matt Insley

As the U.S. "shale gale" nears its 10th birthday, it appears the America energy renaissance has outlived its critics. Still, it's natural to wonder whether all the big gains are behind us. Today, Matt Insley reveals the newest shale hotspot, and explains why there's still plenty of opportunity left in the U.S. energy boom. Read on...


Maestro
The Real Reason the US Media Hates Vladimir Putin

Marc Faber

The U.S., Russia, the EU and Ukraine all met in Geneva, where all sides agreed to halt all violence and provocations in Ukraine. But the news media are still taking an antagonistic stance toward Vladimir Putin and Russia. What gives? Today, Marc Faber explains the hypocrisy behind U.S. foreign policy... and the BS the news media are pushing about it...