When considering near-term technological catalysts that will have a huge impact on the world, there’s perhaps no greater advancement than 5G. And with that impending advancement, the focus on 5G stocks has started to gain traction among analysts and investors alike.
For those wondering what 5G is, it stands for fifth-generation mobile networks. Simply put, that means it’s the next generation of wireless internet connectivity that will have reduced latency and enable greater data capacity and quicker data transfer.
However, while you get caught up in the hype, it’s important to remember that 5G is not “just” about the general speed boost that will make using your phone even more addictive than it already is.
Much of the excitement about 5G exists because of how it will facilitate greater developments in major tech trends such as autonomous vehicles, IoT, smart cities, artificial intelligence and cutting-edge healthcare implements … to name a few.
Never thought remote surgery would be a thing? With 5G it will be.
Getting a bit more simple, consider that by 2020, Gartner expects that nearly 21 billion devices will use the internet. This includes everything from toasters to home security devices and even “dog collars.”
And that — not the speed boost alone — is the real reason everyone is talking about 5G now. It will inevitably influence almost everything we do.
In the near term, our 5G future might not be as immediately awe-inspiring as the old-school 1950’s interpretations of the future, loaded with flying cars and massive, robotic cityscapes, but the general scope of its effect will be massive, long-lasting and influence many different sectors.
With such grand potential, there are certainly many promising 5G stocks to buy … but not all of these stocks are created equal.
Here are three of the best 5G stocks to buy as the trend heats up in 2019.
Best 5G Stocks: Crown Castle (CCI)
When looking at 5G stocks to buy, many investors focus on the sexy, big-name tech companies that will be behind the innovations that take advantage of this technology.
But they shouldn’t forget those companies that will help set the foundation to make our hyper-connected future possible.
There are several companies that will help lay the groundwork for 5G and one of the standouts among these is the real estate investment trust (REIT) Crown Castle (NYSE:CCI).
Crown Castle will be vital to the rollout of 5G because it “owns, operates and leases more than 40,000 cell towers and 65,000 miles of fiber”, all of which will be necessary for the widespread adoption of 5G in the years ahead.
CCI’s importance to the 5G rollout is even more clear when you consider that most cell companies rent these towers rather than own them. As Stephen McBride asserts in an article for Forbes, “Crown Castle built 7,000 small towers in 2018. And it’ll put up 15,000 more this year.” McBride estimates that by 2025, CCI will have built 240,000 towers, each of which it “will collect rent on … from the likes of Verizon and AT&T.”
Combine this long-term strength with a respectable 3.6% dividend and CCI stock solidifies itself among the best 5G stocks to buy for the long run.
Although it’s important to consider infrastructure stocks like Crown Castle when betting on the 5G trend, it’s also important to acknowledge better-known tech stocks like Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) as well.
From a 5G perspective, QCOM stock is one of the better stocks to buy as it is developing the hardware that will be used in cell phones to support 5G connectivity. Specifically, its recently announced Snapdragon X55 modem is an important evolution for the 5G rollout as it has support for 5G and “older networks, too.” Its previous 5G-supported modem — the Snapdragon X50 — was exclusively 5G.
The continued support of older systems of connectivity in a singular modem will help ease the transition to 5G, all while retaining a future-centric approach in new hardware.
Indeed, QCOM stock has been on a rough road over the past few months as its legal dispute with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other concerns have hampered its performance, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you should completely count the stock out.
Rather, this lackluster performance presents an interesting opportunity in QCOM, when you look at it through a perspective that considers a 5G future. Qualcomm’s hardware will have an even greater role in this tech trend as its related cellphone hardware is finally implemented on a wider scale. (Note that while 5G got an early start in 2018, things aren’t truly expected to pick up steam until 2020 or so.)
And investors who are willing to ride the long-term waves in Qualcomm also have its 4.4% dividend to help ease their concerns.
China Mobile (CHL)
This final pick — China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) — is one of the more “risky” 5G stocks to buy, but with that risk comes a whole lot of potential that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Touted by some as the “Chinese Verizon“, CHL stock will be one of the key players in China that benefits from the 5G rollout. Mobile data research firm GSMA Intelligence estimates that “Chinese 5G connections will scale rapidly over time, to reach 428 million by 2025.” And that massive number is one of the key reasons China Mobile is worth a look.
Although GSMA asserts that 5G adoption will be less rapid than the adoption of 4G, CHL is already testing 5G infrastructure in China, with “commercial launches [expected] by 2020.” Combine this frontrunner aspect with its generally steady growth that isn’t directly tied to the 5G catalyst and CHL stock suddenly seems less risky … if you’re willing to take a bet on a Chinese stock.
And like the other 5G stocks on this list, China Mobile also offers a nice dividend, which currently yields 4.2%.
Robert Waldo has been a web editor for InvestorPlace since 2016. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.