A forward looking market is one thing but tech investors do have a tendency to push the limits, often getting terribly excited about new themes and devices years in advance of their readiness.

Shares talked last week about the 2016 version of Mobile World Congress #MWC2016 and flagged some of the likely big talking points, fifth generation mobile communication networks, or 5G, being one of the likely hotter topics.

A sign reading 'Mobile World Congress' is pictured  a day before the opening of the 3GSM World congress in Barcelona, on February 14, 2010. The 2010 Mobile World Congress will be held 15-18 February, in Barcelona. AFP PHOTO/JOSEP LAGO (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)

Bearing in mind that a relatively small proportion of UK mobile users have 4G access, most are still on 3G, some still stuck in the superhighway slow lane of 2G or 2.5G (connectivity in the regions is not what it is in the big smoke), it's sensible not to get too carried away by reporting from Barcelona over the next few days.

But if you're looking for a bit of context, keep an eye out for full year 2015 results from Spirent on 25 February. The telco/IT testing kit supplier has its own stand manned at MWC2016 but the top brass will be back in London for the figures on Thursday, but don't expect CEO Eric Hutchison to 'go large' on 5G.


Yes, they'll likely be talk of demand -side drivers, but this remains a company seemingly caught between Scylla and Charybdis – limited big capex investment from major global telcos versus Spirent's need to investment itself in next generation fuctionality, such as software defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (VFN).


But as we stated here, alongside the company's third quarter results (that came just a month after a order blockage profit warning), the question facing investors is what are the catalysts that are likely to put some oomph into the share price. Back then the answer appeared to be 'not a lot.' Management must hope it can move the optimism needle this week.

Issue Date: 22 Feb 2016