Fifth-generation (5G) technology is expected to gain more traction in 2022 as more markets around the world get access to the latest wireless standard, leading to an increase in the number of 5G smartphones sold and infrastructure deployed.
Global 5G infrastructure spending is estimated to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 62% over the next five years, according to a third-party estimate. Additionally, 5G smartphone sales are expected to get a big boost once again this year, with shipments expected to hit 700 million units, up from 500 million units last year.
So the proliferation of 5G technology has great potential to make investors richer in 2022. The likes of Micron Technology (MU -0.99%), Ciena (CIEN 1.13%), and Cirrus Logic (CRUS 1.92%) are three stocks investors might want to consider buying to benefit from this lucrative market thanks to their cheap valuations and impressive growth rates.
All three stocks have entered 2022 with solid momentum and it won't be surprising to see them fly higher.
1. Micron Technology
Though Micron Technology is a supplier of memory chips for various end markets such as personal computers (PCs), data centers, graphics cards, and gaming consoles, it gets a nice chunk of its revenue from selling smartphone memory chips. Micron's mobile business unit (MBU) was its second-largest source of revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2022, producing nearly 25% of its top line.
Micron recorded 27% year-over-year growth in the segment's revenue last quarter thanks to a mix of strong shipment volumes and higher content per device. That's not surprising, as Micron estimates that the DRAM content in 5G smartphones is 50% higher than in their 4G predecessors. Additionally, 5G devices are reportedly carrying double the flash storage capacity as compared to 4G smartphones.
The good part is that Micron is taking steps to ensure that it remains a key player in the 5G smartphone market. MediaTek recently validated Micron's low-power double data rate 5X (LPDDR5X) DRAM for use with the Dimensity 9000 5G system-on-a-chip, which is its flagship offering. Micron claims that it is the first chipmaker to have sampled and validated this fast mobile memory and has already shipped the first batch of samples.
With MediaTek controlling 40% of the smartphone SoC market, Micron could gain big from this partnership in the long run as sales of 5G smartphones increase. All this makes Micron Technology an enticing 5G stock to buy right now. It is trading at just 14.4 times trailing earnings and 10 times forward earnings, which is attractive considering its terrific pace of growth.
The company's revenue shot up 33% year over year in the fiscal first quarter and adjusted earnings spiked to $2.16 per share from $0.78 per share in the year-ago period. Micron's outlook indicates that its outstanding growth is sustainable, and 5G smartphones are going to play an important role in that regard.
Ciena is another attractive 5G stock to buy right now, as it is trading at 24 times trailing earnings, which represents a discount to the S&P 500's earnings multiple of 29. The company reported a 25.7% year-over-year increase in revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, along with a 41.7% rise in adjusted earnings to $0.85 per share.
Ciena's impressive growth was driven by strong ordering activity from customers, and the company ended the fiscal year with $2.2 billion in the backlog. This was double the backlog Ciena had in the prior-year period. The company expects 11% to 13% revenue growth in the current fiscal year, which would be a huge improvement over the 2.5% increase it recorded in fiscal 2021.
The rollout of 5G networks will play an important role in Ciena's growth this year and beyond because the optical fiber solutions that the company provides are an essential ingredient in the rollout of 5G infrastructure. Not surprisingly, the optical fiber market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 15% through 2027, according to a third-party estimate.
This also explains why telecom carriers are opting for Ciena's solutions to deploy 5G networks, according to management's commentary on the company's December 2021 earnings conference call: "In Q4, we secured a dozen new wins, including significant multiyear deals with two of the largest U.S. Tier 1 service providers, one of which is for a nationwide 5G sell-side router deployment."
Samsung is another 5G infrastructure player that has chosen Ciena's solutions to roll out its 5G networks globally. With investments in 5G infrastructure set to increase at a fast clip in the long run and the demand for optical fiber solutions set to get stronger, Ciena can continue growing at a nice pace. That's why investors should consider taking advantage of the company's attractive valuation and buy the stock before it flies higher.
3. Cirrus Logic
Apple (AAPL 0.76%) supplier Cirrus Logic is coming into the new year with the possibility of a surge in iPhone shipments that could give it a big shot in the arm. Apple had produced 80% of Cirrus' revenue in the second quarter of fiscal 2022 (ended Sept. 25), and the latter enjoyed a 34% year-over-year surge in the top line thanks to a ramp-up in the production of the iPhone 13 and content gains at its largest customer.
Apple is using a power conversion chip from Cirrus in the latest iPhones, in addition to the audio codec chips that the tech giant has historically purchased from the chipmaker. As a result, Cirrus saw a 145% year-over-year increase in the revenue from its high-performance mixed-signal business in Q2, outpacing the 7.4% year-over-year growth of the audio business.
Cirrus investors can expect the chipmaker's terrific performance to continue in 2022, as Apple is expected to ramp up iPhone production. Mizuho Securities analyst Yasuo Nakane believes that Apple could make 66 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2022 (ending Dec. 31, 2021), up 20% from the same period last year. The analyst expects Apple to make 259 million iPhones for the full fiscal year, which would be an increase over the 240 million units it reportedly sold last year.
However, it won't be surprising to see Apple ship more iPhones. It is a dominant force in the 5G smartphone space and it's looking to step up its game in 2022 with the addition of an entry-level device that could help it attract more customers. The tech titan could launch a budget-oriented iPhone SE 5G this year, according to JP Morgan analysts, which could help it bring Android users into its ecosystem while encouraging existing iPhone owners to upgrade.
JP Morgan analysts estimate that Apple could make 30 million units of the iPhone SE in 2022, which means that Cirrus will have an additional product that will be using its chips. The combination of higher volumes and more content in Apple's iPhones would be a nice tailwind for Cirrus this year. With the stock trading at 22 times trailing earnings and 16 times forward earnings, now may be a good time for investors to buy Cirrus because it could turn out to be a top growth stock this year.