We’re not there yet, but we’re heading the right direction.
Just yesterday, the United States seven-day average of daily new Covid-19 cases fell below 20,000 for the first time since March 2020.
That month is seared in our brains. It is when the pandemic became real for those of us in the United States, and when our lives changed so dramatically for the following year.
Cases are dropping thanks to rapidly developed and remarkably effective vaccines. Many governors have lifted or eased restrictions. Most states no longer have a mask mandate.
Folks are getting out and about and resuming activities they took for granted before. Over the Memorial Day weekend, the number of people traveling by air hit its highest level since the pandemic started.
So while the pandemic isn’t officially behind us, it’s not too early to start thinking about what we learned and how our world will be different going forward.
This is especially important for us as investors…
One undeniable lesson we learned during the pandemic is that access to fast, reliable internet service is more essential than ever.
Hunkered down at home, Americans relied on video chat services like Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM) or Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Classroom to work and stay connected with family and friends.
They visited doctors from home through Teladoc Health (NYSE:TDOC). They watched shows and movies from home on Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Video. They played more video games thanks to companies like Tencent (OTCMKTS:TCEHY). They ordered groceries through companies like Target (NYSE:TGT).
It’s no coincidence these stocks also moved. Zoom has come off its high from October, but it is still up more than 375% since the beginning of last year.
These companies have still been able to thrive thanks to the online communication system that supports the global economy. This information superhighway includes the fiber optics cables, cell towers, Wi-Fi hubs and more that relay our texts, emails, phone calls and payments.
The impact from the Covid-19 shutdown was huge, as you would expect for a once-in-a-century event. But just imagine how much worse it would have been if we didn’t have the technology to connect remotely. Many workplaces would have shut their doors forever. Schools would have come to a complete halt. We would have seen even less of friends and family without video calls.
Our heightened reliance on this communication comes at the same time as a massive and mind-blowing upgrade to this whole system is now underway.
Think of 5G as the mother of wireless network upgrades, and Covid-19 has elevated its importance and accelerated its buildout. When your health or your job are literally on the line, faster connections are not just nice — they are necessary.
So, what’s the big deal? Well, on a practical level, the next generation of mobility will increase download speeds by 100X. If you’ve ever experienced any janky or lost connections — and who hasn’t? — you’ll appreciate the upgrade.
But it’s so much more than just a nice upgrade that prevents us from getting inconvenienced. I call 5G a “keystone” technology because it will enable many other breakthroughs that will change our lives.
Self-driving cars. Remote robotic surgeries. Virtual and augmented reality. Billions of connected devices known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Telehealth. Smart factories. Smart cities. And more.
Add it all up and you’re looking at breakthroughs worth more than $56 trillion.
The rollout over the next seven to 10 years is creating a massive long-term investment opportunity.
Just like what happened during the rise of the internet in the 1990s. And probably even bigger.
Back then, companies that set up shop along that superhighway used the continuous stream of information flowing across it to unlock tremendous value for customers. Investors who spotted the trend early were rewarded with eye-popping gains.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is one example. It turned office software into one of history’s largest corporate money piles and saw its stock rise 18,027% from the early ‘90s until now. It set up shop along the highway and profited for decades, unlike those that built the highway and then were done.
eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) is another example. The e-commerce juggernaut sat right on the internet highway and saw its shares increase 4,000%.
The companies building on 5G’s backbone today will also see the value of their businesses increase exponentially. They will profit for years and years.
And now, a post-Covid world will demand faster, more efficient supply chains and production lines. That will be possible with data fed by countless connected sensors.
5G’s speed and reliability will enable this shift. With 5G, data can be processed in as little as two milliseconds. If that sounds incredibly fast, it is. It’s faster than the human brain, which processes information in 13 milliseconds.
It’s no exaggeration to say the breakthroughs made possible by 5G will dwarf the economic impact of the internet.
Years from now, we’ll look back at the creation of 5G the way we look back at the buildout of America’s railroads.
And for investors, it’s the best chance to turn small investments into life-changing wealth.
On the date of publication, Matthew McCall did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.
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