The 25 Highest-Yielding Telecom Stocks

Dividend investing is popular again. Investors have taken to heart Jeremy Siegel's studies, which show that higher-yielding stocks tend to offer greater returns over time than low- or no-yield stocks.

The highest dividend yields can be very tantalizing. As long as a stock yielding 15% doesn't lose value, you'll make 15% in one year! In more cases than not, however, an astronomical yield is a bad sign for a stock. Since dividend yields and stock prices move in opposite directions, a high yield usually means that investors have begun to worry about the business and driven down its stock price.

Dividends are not guaranteed; you need to make sure that a business is generating enough cash to pay its dividend, or your investment could be disastrous.

A few months ago, I ran a screen for the highest-yielding telecom stocks, and it got such a good reception that I'm doing it again this quarter. The only limitations I set are that I'm considering only telecoms, and they must have a market cap greater than $1 billion.

Here are the top 25 highest-yielding telecoms the screen produced.

  Company Name Market Cap (millions) Dividend Yield
1 Cellcom Israel (NYSE: CEL  )

$2,950

11.7%

2 Telefonica (NYSE: TEF  )

$108,958

10.6%

3 Telecomunicacoes de Sao Paulo (NYSE: TSP  )

$14,635

10.5%

4 Partner Communications (Nasdaq: PTNR  )

$2,524

9.9%

5 Alaska Communications Systems (Nasdaq: ALSK  )

$394

9.9%

6 Philippine Long Distance Telephone (NYSE: PHI  )

$9,934

9.7%

7 Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR  )

$8,012

9.3%

8 France Telecom (NYSE: FTE  )

$59,426

9.2%

9 Portugal Telecom (NYSE: PT  )

$9,584

8.7%

10 Consolidated Communications (Nasdaq: CNSL  )

$563

8.3%

11 Vivo Participacoes (NYSE: VIV  )

$17,680

8.0%

12 Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN  )

$6,635

7.7%

13 CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL  )

$24,226

7.2%

14 Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri (NYSE: TKC  )

$12,373

6.9%

15 USA Mobility (Nasdaq: USMO  )

$338

6.5%

16 KT (NYSE: KT  )

$8,392

6.4%

17 Telecom Corp. of New Zealand (NYSE: NZT  )

$3,717

6.1%

18 Telecom Italia (NYSE: TI  )

$26,277

6.0%

19 SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM  )

$10,358

5.9%

20 NTELOS Holdings (Nasdaq: NTLS  )

$808

5.8%

21 AT&T (NYSE: T  )

$179,496

5.7%

22 Chunghwa Telecom (NYSE: CHT  )

$26,375

5.7%

23 Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ  )

$100,093

5.5%

24 Vodafone Group (NYSE: VOD  )

$137,644

5.5%

25 Telefonos de Mexico (NYSE: TMX  )

$15,593

5.4%

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

These stocks are a good place to start your research, but they're not formal recommendations. Remember, their seemingly irresistible yields could be ticking time bombs, so do your own due diligence. Also make sure you diversify your picks across various sectors. As investors relearn every decade or so, you never want to put all your eggs in one basket -- no matter how tempting the dividends are.

For a basket of some high-yield some dividend opportunities, get The Motley Fool's five-page free report: 13 High-Yielding Stocks to Buy Today.

Follow Dan Dzombak on Twitter at @DanDzombak to check out his musings and see what articles he finds interesting. He owns shares of Frontier Communications, France Telecom, and Vodafone Group.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Telefonica. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of USA Mobility, France Telecom, Vodafone Group, Turkcell, Partner Communications, AT&T, Cellcom Israel, and Philippine Long Distance Telephone. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Follow Dan Dzombak on Twitter at @DanDzombak to check out his musings and see what articles he finds interesting. He owns shares of Frontier Communications, France Telecom, and Vodafone Group.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Telefonica. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of USA Mobility, France Telecom, Vodafone Group, Turkcell, Partner Communications, AT&T, Cellcom Israel, and Philippine Long Distance Telephone. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (9)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 08, 2011, at 8:34 PM, neamakri wrote:

    I wish to share with fellow fools.I own shares of (T) and (CTL); both have paid reliable dividends for over twenty years.

    The following are unreliable payers; (CEL)(TEF)(TSP)(PTNR)(PHI)(FTE)(USMO). Good luck with them.

    The following pay out more year-after-year than they earn. I call them LIARS: (ALSK)(FTR)(CNSL)(WIN)(NZT). In addition, dividends from (NZT) are reduced substantially by taxes and fees (my personal experience). Buyer beware.

    The rest of the 25 are missing data, or pay below 6% (my personal threshhold).

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2011, at 10:46 AM, valari25 wrote:

    Ignore the eps payout ratio and focus on the free cash flow ratio when looking at telcom dividends. ALSK, FTR and WIN are all well covered dividends.

    This is becase they have significant non-cash charges each quarter.

  • Report this Comment On June 09, 2011, at 7:38 PM, GingerInOz wrote:

    I have read that the ticker symbol for TSP is no VIV-WI. Can anyone confirm this?

    Thanks.

  • Report this Comment On June 15, 2011, at 10:24 AM, nc245 wrote:

    @ neamakri and valari25 - Do you believe FTR is capable of maintaining its high yielding dividend payouts? What have you read on FTR?

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