Smartphones are the hottest area of consumer technology right
now, and billions of dollars are being spent upgrading worldwide
networks to handle 4G, the next generation of mobile Internet
How can investors take advantage of this trend?
Well, I don't recommend buying the cell phone companies like
). These companies are basically going to kill each other over
The real opportunity lies in a number of lesser-known companies
that have hands in building the new information superhighway, doing
things like laying optical cable to the cell phone towers and
optimizing networks to make them faster.
Here are four of my favorite 4G winners:
Alliance Fiber Optic Products (AFOP)
Alliance Fiber Optic Products Inc.
), as the name suggests, manufactures fiber-optic components. The
company makes optical path integration and optical fiber amplifier
components (attenuators, couplers, depolarizers, multiplexers and
splitters). Alliance sells directly to telecom equipment makers and
50% of its sales come from North America.
F5 Networks (FFIV)
F5 Networks Inc.
) is on the cutting edge of an emerging trend in
business-telecommuting. The company's application delivery
controllers and software programs help make networks run faster and
more efficiently. This allows companies to conduct business over
great distances. F5 also develops file virtualization, WAN
optimization and remote access products that further help customers
"decentralize" their businesses. I travel a lot so I know firsthand
the value of a reliable network. The ability to conduct business in
real-time from even the furthest stretches of the world is becoming
a necessity in our modern age.
Radcom Ltd. (RDCM)
) is an Israel-based company that makes test equipment and software
used in the creation, installation and maintenance of corporate
computer networks. The company's equipment identifies, diagnoses,
isolates and resolves network problems. Radcom sells to telecom
carriers, Internet service providers and communications equipment
Acme Packet (APKT)
Acme Packet Inc.
) makes communications equipment that helps Internet-based networks
communicate with each other better. It has a suite of products,
called session board controllers (SBCs), which are used to connect
networks operated by Internet service providers as well as business
clients. These SBCs handle interactive services, including
telephone calls made over the Internet. Acme Packet also provides
multi-service security gateways and routers for ISPs to help them
manage their Internet traffic flow. The company markets directly
and through distribution partnerships with vendors including
cellular phone maker Ericsson and Sonus Networks.