A Wireless Wrap-Up
05/06/2005 12:00 am EST
Nikhil Hutheesing recently attended CTIA, the biggest cellular wireless show in the US, and returned with a fascinating glimpse into the future of wireless technology. Here are some of his insights based on his private conversations with some the industry's leading executives.
"The CTIA Wireless show covered 15 1/2 football fields of exhibit booths. Over 40,000 people attended. This year, CTIA was making an emphatic statement. The new age of mobile computing and communications is upon us. It is rapidly changing the way we live and do business and this is where you will find the most exciting technology companies. During the CTIA show, I met with the top brass at several companies I currently am holding in my Forbes Wireless Stock Watch portfolio.
"I was looking forward to my first meeting with Jamdat Mobile (JMDT NASDAQ), a key player in the field of wireless applications. CEO Mitch Lasky notes it is the gaming business where he sees opportunity. Also, the success of a mobile game is tied to the number of carrier relationships and number of supported handsets in addition to the quality of the game itself. Jamdat has relationships with over 90 carriers and at least 400 different handset models, the most in the industry. Another edge is the possibility that it will enter exclusive publishing rights with some sports leagues. Lasky says that his company plans to launch as many as 30-35 new games this year and about 40% of those will be developed internally. I rate the stock a buy.
"Right after speaking with Mitch Lasky, I headed over to meet with Rick Hennessey, the chief executive of Dwango North America (DWGN OTC BB). I was impressed. Hennessey has a great vision for his company. The challenge will be executing it. Hennessey has the rather unique approach of being the ‘enabler’ to the big brands—helping them to get their content onto mobile phones. He has managed to win some big accounts, among them BeliefNet, ESPN, Napster, and Rolling Stone 20. I reiterate that this is a risky stock; it is thinly traded and has a $14 million market cap. However, I do believe that the opportunities for Dwango Wireless to prosper are significant.
"The message from Nokia (NOK NYSE) came through loud and clear at CTIA. I met with Tim Eckersley, senior vice president of sales and marketing. The company acknowledges that it made some mistakes in the past and it now is on the fast track to recouping its lost market share in the cell phone business. This year, Nokia will introduce 40 new models for WCDMA as well as GSM technologies. Nokia is clearly thinking ‘out of the box’ and listening to customers. The company is partnering with Loudeye to get access to great content and is working with the carriers as well. I left this meeting with a sense that Nokia is coming back strongly in handsets and I was impressed by the innovative designs. I recommend purchasing the stock.
"I met with Ramesh Barasia of Comverse Technology (CMVT NASDAQ), who is responsible for sales and marketing. At the CTIA show, Comverse also debuted a new product design to convert handsets into live video cameras. So mobile phones would actually become mobile video phones. This could come in handy if you are trying to verify whether your teenager is really at the library or at the mall. The prospects here, could be big for the company because InSight opens up other new service avenues. I am impressed by Comverse and I believe the company has a great business ahead. I have a price target of $33 for shares of CMVT."
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