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Comarco Wireless: Under the Radar

Since the mid-1960s, call boxes have been lining the roads across the U.S. Originally, the systems used wire line technologies, which were provided by the local telephone companies. But there had to be a better way.

A company called Comarco Wireless had a solution. The company developed a solar powered, cellular call box.

Since then, Comarco purchased the Cubic Communications call box product line. Now, Comarco operates over 16,000 call boxes throughout California and 4,000 in the rest of the U.S.

But Comarco has not stopped innovating. For example, the company will be using telemetry devices, so as to collect traffic data from call boxes.

But this is not a one-product company. Comarco has other specialties. They include:

Revenue Assurance Requirements: This technology ensures that companies are realizing the full revenue potential of wireless services and that customers are receiving the service that they expect.

Field Measurement: When developing its call box technologies, Comarco also created spin-off technologies for field measurement equipment. Such products as Q-MOS, Workbench and Baseline allow companies to analyze and benchmark the performance of their wireless networks.

ChargeSource: This is a sophisticated, yet light-weight (4.2 oz) power system for devices, such as PDAs, cell phones, and notebooks. Basically, it is a single AC adapter. ChargeSource can identify the device it is connected to and provide the optimum power to the device.

Services: The company offers turnkey network optimization services. Analysis is done on such things as blocked calls, audio quality, and dropped calls.

Revenues have not soared, though. In the second quarter, revenues were $12 million, which were up from $9 million. The company is in the process of divesting its non-wireless assets.

However, the company is profitable, with $1.3 million in net income last quarter. The PE ratio is about 44 and the market cap is $148 million.

In the past year, the price range has $17-$50-1/2. Now, the stock trades at $35-1/4. But the company is far along on its transition, which should bear fruit soon.