RealTime IT News

E-Mailbag Monday: i3 Mobile, Net2Phone, Net Correction

What IPO looks hot for the week?

Reply: Wireless IPOs have been red hot and should continue for the next few years. People and companies need access to information -- in real time, anytime and anywhere.

One of the hot wireless IPOs has been Aether (AETH). Expect another one for this week: i3 Mobile. The company packages data for wireless users, such as for news, weather, entertainment, traffic and financial. There are also services for e-mail and e-commerce. Currently, the company has 100,000 paying subscribers and 350,000 complimentary users (who access free content).

Of course, the long-term trends are in favor of i3 Mobile. According to DataQuest, wireless data subscribers are expected to zoom from 3 million subscribers in 1999 to 36 million subscribers in 2003.

Interestingly enough, one of the key investors in i3 Mobile is MCI WorldCom, which owns 5.3 percent.

For the i3 Mobile IPO, the price range is $14-16, the lead underwriter is Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown and the proposed ticker symbol is IIIM.

Net2Phone: AT&T and Yahoo! Are Calling

You have written positively about Net2Phone before. After this week, what's your view of the stock?

Reply: Internet telephony is still a small market. However, as indicated this week, many big companies see lots of potential. An investment group, led by AT&T, invested $1.6 in Net2Phone (NTOP) . Net2Phone builds software that allows people to make inexpensive long-distance calls -- of course, using the Net.

The investment and the significant backers will help consolidate the leadership position of Net2Phone. What's more, AT&T and Yahoo! (which was also part of the investment group) will provide Net2Phone incredible distribution. So, by all accounts, Net2Phone looks like a great opportunity for investors.

Net Correction

Do you think the party is over for the market?

Reply: I hope not. I might be out of a job!

The market has been doing nicely since the early 1980s. The US economy is in great shape and the US is highly competitive, with an incredible financial and technological infrastructure.

However, the markets will, periodically, experience violent corrections, as was the case last week. This is normal, even healthy. But, this does not mean to stay out of the market.

Although, it is important to remain diversified and thus not have the bulk of your portfolio in, say, Internet stocks. Yes, even having money in the "Old Economy" stocks is a smart thing to do.

As for the Net stocks, I look at the recent sell-off as a buying opportunity. Net technology has been a disruptive force, resulting in fundamental shifts globally. It is not a short-term fad. What's more, keep in mind that less than 5 percent of the world's population is on the Net. There's much more room for growth.

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