July 8, 2019

5G Will Usher in Financial Winners

We are all about to enter the next generation of wireless connectivity known as fifth generation or 5G, which will replace the current high speed standard of 4G. 5G is not widely available yet and most carriers are only offering the service in a few select cities.

But by 2025, the entire U.S. cellular network will be upgraded with very high frequencies to support hardware with devices that demand massive amounts of bandwidth that have at least 10 times the speed of 4G with very vast and precise coverage. 5G also uses much shorter wavelengths then the current 4G standard, which will further provide speed and efficiency. In short, 5G can support more than 1,000 devices per meter above what 4G can. 5G even has a minimum peak downloadable speed of 20Gbps (gigabits per second); contrast this to 4G, which is approximately 1Gbps. Put another way, at peak speed, 5G is actually 20 times faster than 4G. A single movie downloaded over 4G can be downloaded 20 times faster over a 5G network. You could download 10 movies before 4G finished delivering half of even one movie.

Consumers will appreciate 5G’s benefit in multiple situation. 5G will not have a lag or slowdown effect that 4G has. In your home, an entire family can connect many multiple devices, thermostats, smart TV, phones, wireless headsets…the list goes on and on. With 5G, you will not have to worry that your devices will stop working or slowdown as you connect additional devices to your system.

Since there will be a massive transition to the new 5G standard, various companies stand to benefit financially as the world becomes connected to this improved technology. Computer infrastructures, massive hard drives, drones, smart manufacturing, cell service providers, networks, semiconductors and modem makers will all have some skin in the game and be looking to profit on this transformation.

So what industries or companies stand to benefit the most?

Cellphone Manufacturers. That iPhone or android device, iPad or tablet device…none of these devices is currently 5G eligible. Meaning even if 5G was available, most devices could not participate. When 5G does become widely available, virtually all current devices will need to be replaced. The obvious beneficiaries are Apple Inc. (AAPL), Samsung (SMSN LI), Motorola (MSI) and Google (GOOGL).

Cellphone & Cable Service Providers. While this is an obvious one, some companies will benefit better than others. Verizon (VZ) seems to be the standout according to analysts. While AT&T (T) should be a benefactor, analysts worry that the massive merger with Direct TV could be a drag on the organization for years to come. Currently, consumers are trending toward paid TV subscriptions like Netflix (NFLX), Amazon Prime (AMZN), and Hulu. As service providers of 5G, such as Verizon and AT&T, expand 5G broadband services to homes, cable stocks like Comcast (CMCSA) and Charter Communications may be threatened.

Semiconductors and modems. The market for 5G semiconductors, which currently sits at $19 billion, is expected to double over the next five years. Skyworks Solutions (SWKS), Qorvo (QRVO), Broadcom (AVGO), and Qualcomm are all chipmakers expected to benefit from the build out. Even test and measurement companies like Keysight Technologies (KEYS), Xilinx (XLNX), Marvell Technology (MRVL) should have sustained growth for years.

Fiber Optics. 5G will still utilize fiber-optic networks. Fiber optics will play a critical role in robotics, emerging autonomy electric and motor vehicles, as well as medical and surgical applications. Imagine a surgeon performing an exam on a patient in Seattle while he is in Miami. Acacia Communications (ACIA), Corning (GLW), and Ciena are all fiber-optic providers. There are also the cell-tower fiber optic networks from the likes of Crown Castle (CCI) and American Tower (AMT).

Data Centers and Edge Computing. When it comes to data centers, think of your local library. If your city has the capability to offer 10 to 20 times more data (books) than it does now, you are going to need to build a significantly larger library or data center when it comes to storing all of that digital information. Dell Technologies (DELL), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Nokia all have a stake in it.

While 5G definitely will have a significant impact on society, it does not come without politics. The current administration is pressuring other allied countries not to use foreign competitors from the like of Huawei, which is China’s largest 5G gear maker. The U.S. wants to position itself as the global leader in 5G, which should be bullish for 5G companies.