The next standard for wireless communication, called 5G, is already going live across the U.S. and countries around the world. Some investors like to wait around until a new technology has firmly taken hold before investing in it, but there are a few reasons why you may want to jump on 5G stocks sooner rather than later.
Consider that by 2024 there are estimated to be about 3 billion 5G subscriptions worldwide. That's a lot of 5G devices coming online in a very short amount of time. Additionally, this new 5G technology market will reach an estimated worldwide market size of $700 billion in 2025.
Qualcomm: Connecting more devices than ever before
Qualcomm has a unique position in the 5G space, in part because it, as it says, "invented fundamental technologies that make 5G work." For many years the company benefited from wireless technology via licensing fees for 3G and 4G chips. And now it's making a similar move with 5G.
Qualcomm says that it already has more than 150 5G licensing agreements and believes that up to 550 million 5G handsets will ship in 2021.
The company may not be able to generate the same amount of licensing revenue that it once did, but it would be a mistake to write off the company's growth potential.
In Qualcomm's third quarter (reported on July 28), total revenue spiked 63% thanks to a 70% jump in chip sales and a 43% spike in licensing fees. Those year-over-year figures were compared to an unusually bad quarter because of the pandemic, of course, but Qualcomm's 5G potential is still firmly intact.
With a rapidly increasing amount of devices being connected to 5G networks -- from handsets to cars to industrial equipment -- Qualcomm's licensed technology will be in high demand for years to come.
Nvidia: Speeding up 5G data centers
5G users will consume about three times more data than 4G users do right now, and all of that data moving rapidly through servers will need advanced chips to process it. And that's where Nvidia comes in.
The company's graphics processing chips have been the standard in gaming for years, but they're also very good at processing complex data very quickly. That's why telecoms, including Verizon, are turning to Nvidia's chips to help build a new 5G data center infrastructure.
The need for speedier telecom data centers will continue to increase as everything from artificial intelligence applications to video games will rely on advanced 5G networks.
One of the great things about Nvidia is that while it's a leading chip company, it's still growing very quickly. The company's total sales reached a record of $6.5 billion in the second quarter (reported on Aug. 18), an increase of 68% year over year.
The company's two main revenue segments, gaming and data center, saw their sales spike 85% and 35%, respectively.
Telecoms, tech companies, and nearly every enterprise will be dependent on fast 5G services in the coming years and it's likely that much of the 5G data center infrastructure will be packed with Nvidia's chips.
American Tower: A towering 5G opportunity
All of this fancy new 5G technology will still rely on good-old-fashioned towers to connect devices, and much of it will rely on American Tower's vast network of towers.
The company operates more than 43,000 towers in North America and 171,000 internationally and leases them out to telecom companies, who sign up for multiyear deals.
This creates a steady stream of revenue for American Tower and with an influx of spending for 5G, the company should benefit. American Tower said recently that its customers will shell out an average of $35 billion in capital spending over the next few years to expand their networks, which is an industry record.
That provides a massive opportunity for American Tower's business to grow and because the company is structured as a real estate investment trust (REIT), its investors should directly see the benefits as well. As a REIT, American Tower has to pay out 90% of its taxable income as dividends.
The company's dividend yield is just slightly under 2% right now and as more telecoms upgrade their networks, income investors have a very attractive investment opportunity with American Tower.