The technology sector is littered with so-called dinosaurs — stocks of former highfliers that ruled their respective sectors that have now been replaced by future industry disruptors. Often, once these tech dinosaurs fall into this trap, they are pretty much done for.
And based on the current share price of the former highflier Nokia Oyj (ADR) (NYSE:NOK), you would assume that the telecom giant’s goose was cooked. Perhaps, even permanently.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality is, Nokia is still as relevant as ever in the world of mobile and wireless technology. Thanks to a dose of upgrades and big spending by big telecom, the firm is a massive play on the future of wireless technology. And that future could be coming to Nokia’s coffers sooner than later.
For investors, shares of the combo meal-priced NOK could be one of the biggest values in the entire tech sector.
Nokia Is More Than Just Cell Phones
Before Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones were everywhere, there was Nokia. The Finnish firm’s cellphones were the perfect marriage of design and high-tech features. And in that, NOK enjoyed tremendous success and was certainly tech royalty.
Unfortunately, those iPhones proved to be too big of a draw for consumers, and Nokia saw its dominant market share in the industry wiped out.
And as you would expect, shares of NOK fell and kept on falling. Today, the firm stands at a fraction of its former glory days in terms of market cap and value. Nokia certainly fits the definition of a tech dinosaur. But the glory days may be returning once again.
Back in 2013, when smartphones were really starting to dominate the landscape, Nokia made a shrewd buy of industrial conglomerate Siemens‘ networking business. It followed that up with 2016’s buy of Alcatel-Lucent assets. With this, Nokia had flipped the script on its business lines.
Instead of providing the equipment for consumers and end users, it’ll make the equipment that brings the data/voice/video to the end users. No matter what the device — iPhone, Nokia or otherwise.
And it turns out this is going to be the shrewdness move of them all.
That’s because consumers’ hunger for mobile data is now fueling a network upgrading binge by the major telecom firms. Current 4G networks are cutting with all the streaming video, mobile commerce and gaming we’re now doing on our phones and tablets.
Thanks to tax reform, AT&T has announced its CAPEX spending plans for 2018 to come clocking in at $25 billion this year, an increase of $21.6 billion in 2017. VZ should be around $18 billion, while Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) has promised to launch its 5G network by the second half of 2019. Other major telecoms have followed suit with larger spending plans on faster mobile data speeds.
The beauty is that upgrading to 5G will tack on a lot of both mobile and fiber-optic firepower. We’ll need to upgrade and build out sides of the equation to make sure that speeds and data-handling abilities are up to snuff. Analysts predict that telecoms will need to spend a staggering $144.2 billion between 2014 and 2019 in order to get 5G networks up and running.
And guess who is going get a bulk of that potential spending?
Thanks to its purchases, Nokia has become a wireless/fiber-optic giant. This will allow it gain from both direct sales of the build-out and through its massive portfolio of intellectual property/patents.
All of this will start to play out in 2019 and 2020 as these networks continue to roll out. In its latest earnings announcement, Nokia expects that this year will see some declines in its network businesses and then grow faster than its addressable market in over the next two years.
Moreover, operating margins during this time will be as high as 12%. That should create a profit windfall for the firm.
As will its recent movements into the Internet of Things (IoT) and network rollouts designed to take advantage of these linkages. IoT is a huge addressable market, and the opportunities for industry as well as consumers are pretty endless.
NOK Is a Steal
Nokia is clearly transforming itself into being the 5G powerhouse. The firm continues to make the right moves. Rather than profiting from devices, NOK’s networking and wireless equipment will ensure it makes money from whatever consumers choose to surf the mobile web, stream videos and engage in e-commerce.
The beauty is that Nokia stock can be had for a song.
The firm continues to pay increasing dividends, and features decent cash flows from its portfolio of patents and licensing agreements. And yet, NOK shares currently can be had for about $5.50 per share, a fraction of its former glory days. The market is basically throwing away the potential of the 5G rollouts and its future profits.
For investors, Nokia is no longer a tech dinosaur. But it continues to trade like one. That won’t last for long. The time to buy NOK stock is now.