With the ramping up of global 5G networks, Nokia (NOK) is staking a claim to be one of the field’s main players. The Finnish company was once one of the world’s leading mobile phone makers, but that was long ago and over recent years has reinvented itself as a telecom equipment provider. The move appears to be paying off as it has just notched its 100th 5G deal.
While Raymond James analyst Simon Leopold considers hitting the milestone as “great progress,” the analyst has reservations about Nokia becoming one of the leaders in an industry expected to boom as the new decade progresses.
“We continue to regard 5G as an investment theme, but with the recent loss at Verizon, Nokia's Mobility unit continues to face challenges,” the 4-star analyst said. “We will monitor progress with its expanding chip portfolio (Reef Shark) and look forward to hearing from the new CEO regarding his vision for the company.”
Last month, Nokia lost out to Samsung to be Verizon’s supplier of choice for 5G equipment. Samsung has stated its goal is to reach 20% of market share by next year. While Leopold considers this “as a stretch goal,” he nevertheless believes “Nokia likely loses several points of market share.”
Despite signing off on 17 new 5G deals in Q3, Nokia is actually losing market share in the mobility market. According to Dell'Oro, over the TTM (twelve trailing months), Nokia had a grip on 20% of the market, down from 21% in 2019 and 24% in 2017. In fact, Leopold points out “the shift toward 5G has degraded Nokia's position.”
While the company held 18% of 5G market share in 2019, that figure has dropped to 15% over the TTM.
“The trend stimulates questions regarding a sufficient scale to remain competitive,” Leopold summed up.
As a result, the analyst sticks to a Market Perform (i.e. Hold) rating for now. Leopold currently has no fixed price target in mind. (To watch Leopold’s track record, click here)
Overall, NOK has drawn optimism mixed with caution when it comes to consensus opinion among sell-side analysts. Out of 7 analysts tracked in the last 3 months, 3 are bullish on NOK stock, while 4 remain sidelined. With a potential upside of 32%, the stock's consensus target price stands at $5.16. (See Nokia stock analysis on TipRanks)
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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