Marvell Technology (NASDAQ:MRVL) has taken a hit thanks to the U.S. ban on doing business with Huawei. The chipmaker issued weaker-than-anticipated fiscal second-quarter guidance at the end of May because it had to take any Huawei-related business out of the equation.
But this hasn't dented investor confidence in Marvell Technology stock. That's probably because investors realize the ban won't be a big deal for the company. After all, the Chinese corporation's percentage contribution to Marvell's top line is only in the mid-single digits.
More importantly, Marvell is sitting on an attractive opportunity that could boost its results sooner rather than later.
5G design wins are gaining momentum
Marvell Technology is expected to ride the fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology wave. The chipmaker has been working on 5G-focused chips, and has struck partnerships to take advantage of this fast-growing market.
The good news for Marvell investors is that its efforts have started bearing fruit, as it scored its first two 5G-related design wins in the fiscal first quarter. The first is for the company's Fusion processor, which is being deployed by a customer in remote radio heads, one of the most critical components of a base station.
Marvell believes that it can capture new remote radio head content with the Fusion processor during the 5G rollout because telecom operators will have to tackle high-capacity data throughput and also keep power consumption in check. As a result, Marvell thinks that its 5G customers will start deploying the Fusion processor by the end of the year.
The second 5G design win Marvell has landed is for its custom chips that will be used for massive multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) processing. Massive MIMO processing will play a critical role in 5G deployment because it assembles antennas together to multiply the capacity of the network.
At present, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are used for massive MIMO processing because these chips can be bought off the shelf and programmed by developers to render the required purpose. However, custom-built chips are much more power-efficient than FPGAs and can run at a higher capacity as well.
So don't be surprised to see telecom operators turn to Marvell's custom 5G chips to lower costs and boost speeds. The chipmaker believes that it stands to gain at least $500 worth of new content in each base station, but it could be more.
Finally, Marvell investors shouldn't forget that spending on 5G infrastructure is expected to grow in leaps and bounds in the coming years. IDC forecasts that 5G-related spending will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 118% through 2022, so the company can take advantage of this opportunity for a long time.
When will 5G start driving Marvell's revenue?
The recent design win momentum suggests Marvell investors won't have to wait long for the 5G catalyst to kick in. Management pointed out on the latest earnings conference call that its lead customers will "ramp production on schedule in the fourth fiscal quarter of this year."
Meanwhile, the other design win related to the semicustom chip will kick in next year once Marvell starts sampling the product in early 2020. In all, investors can expect some gains from 5G toward the end of 2019, but the catalyst will move the needle significantly next year.
This is probably why analysts expect Marvell's top and bottom lines to pick up the pace in the next fiscal year after a tepid performance in the current one. It looks like Marvell stock will deliver more upside in the future thanks to 5G.