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Back road to broadband success
Posted: 17-May-2000 [Source: CBS MarketWatch]

[An investment analyst views the wireless market.]

By Thom Calandra, London -- "Now that the tech tumble is easing, investors might start looking for small technology companies that service the big telecommunications equipment suppliers.

"The business created by the exploding world of telecommunications could be vast, say analysts in London and New York.

"... "If you're going to be in wireless, park your bags in Europe," David Peterschmidt, CEO of search engine developer Inktomi told me Wednesday. Peterschmidt says large networking equipment makers such as Nokia of Finland use Inktomi's Internet cache technology "to get content to the edge of the wireless network."

"Many of the sub-contractors will benefit," says Jan Ihrfelt of investment bank Swedbank in Stockholm. "Many of them are relatively unknown."

"One company called Nolato (it trades in Stockholm) produces the plastic front pieces to mobile phones. It trades at a significant discount to the Nokias of the world," Ihrfelt told me.

"Segerstrom (it trades in Stockholm) produces cabinets for the wireless and broadband base stations that are sprouting across Europe. The stock sells at 10 times next year's earnings.

"A company that produces antennas for mobile phones -- and has a 35 percent or so worldwide market share - also trades in Stockholm: Allgon. "They have a big footprint," Ihrfelt says. Allgon shares are not cheap. The shares trade at more than 30 times next year's expected profits.

"They travel in the rear, but they are on the same train as the Nokias and Alcatels," Ihrfelt says about the small vendors. "It's fueled by this outsourcing trend we are seeing. In some cases, the subcontractor can grow faster than their customers."

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