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Telecom Stock Review - March 2010 - Industry Outlook
By: Zacks Investment Research   Wednesday, March 17, 2010 4:28 PM
Symbols: ARRS, DSL, FTE, LEAP, TU, USM, VIV, VOD
On the other hand, highly-leveraged companies should be avoided, at least at this point.

OPPORTUNITIES

Telecom carriers and equipment providers that offer the most attractive opportunities are focused on 3G wireless technologies, emerging 4G technologies, broadband (DSL) and fiber-to-the-home/premises networking. The collapse of the financial markets has left an indelible mark. We have seen that sector diversity is a less secure natural hedge in today's increasingly correlated world markets.

However, the telecommunications industry as a whole offers a number of attributes that are difficult to ignore for most investors.

  • Telecommunications are a necessary utility - The need for telecom in both rural and urban areas, and its role in the infrastructure of both developed and developing markets, continues to grow. In addition, economic stimulus plans in the U.S. and throughout the world should boost selected service providers and equipment manufacturers.
  • Massive growth of smart-phones - In spite of the challenging global economy, the growth in the smart-phone mobile market maintains its impressive trend. This primarily reflects a shift in consumer preference towards feature-enhanced PDA devices from ordinary mobile handsets used primarily for voice telephony. This opportunity provides massive scope for telecom service providers, equipment manufacturers, chipset developers and wireless tower operators to retain new users and grow revenues moving forward.
  • International diversification - While country diversification offers only limited protection in the current highly-correlated world equity markets, it offers hedging opportunities from local economic weakness and associated currency exchange differentials. Therefore, a significant allocation of foreign telecom companies would be appropriate as part of a technology-focused portfolio.

Companies that match well with the aforementioned considerations include Vodafone Group Plc (VOD), Vivo Participacoes S.A. (VIV), Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI) and Arris Group Inc. (ARRS).


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