Investment ideas

Telecom stocks are often perceived to be boring, low-growth safety stocks. The percent return over the past year for AT&T is -7%, though its return on investment (ROI) is nearly 13% and its return on equity (ROE) is over 20%. The story for Verizon is the same.

Handset makers, on the contrary, have been market darlings since the mid-90s. But as the market becomes saturated, and phone companies are no longer willing to subsidize the manufacturers’ sales, expect to see their growth slow considerably and their margins shrink.

The following list includes both service providers and hardware makers selected for their market share, profitability, and exposure to upside or downside growth.

Click on the interactive chart below to see data over time. 

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Do you think the end of the two year contract will be a boon or a bane for mobile telecom stocks? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

1. T-Mobile US, Inc. ( TMUS): Provides communication services. Market cap at $23.49B, most recent closing price at $32.31.


2. AT&T, Inc. ( T): Provides telecommunication services to consumers, businesses, and other service providers worldwide. Market cap at $171.02B, most recent closing price at $32.47.


3. Sprint Nextel Corp. ( S): Offers wireless and wireline communications products. Market cap at $33.13B, most recent closing price at $8.40.


4. Verizon Communications Inc. ( VZ): Provides communication services. Market cap at $132.54B, most recent closing price at $46.23.


5. Motorola Solutions, Inc. ( MSI): Provides business and mission critical communication products and services for enterprise and government customers worldwide. Market cap at $16.75B, most recent closing price at $64.96.


6. Apple Inc. ( AAPL): Designs, manufactures, and markets PCs, mobile devices, and portable digital music players, and sells related software, services, and third-party digital applications. Market cap at $472.72B, most recent closing price at $527.55.


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