Telecommunications Sector: Overview and Funds

The telecommunications sector, or telecom sector, is comprised of companies that provide the infrastructure for data transmission and communications. This includes wireless and cellphone service providers, some types of Internet service providers and fiber optic networks among other things. Unlike the other sectors, the telecommunications sector has only one major industry group, which is called telecommunications services. The telecom sector does not include companies that broadcast radio and TV, provide cable or satellite TV or manufacture cellphones and computers. Companies that broadcast or provide cable are classified in consumer discretionary and companies that manufacture cell phones and computers are in the information technology sector.

Telecommunications Services

This industry group is broken into two industries: diversified telecommunication services and wireless telecommunication services. Diversified telecommunication services include alternative carriers that provide high-bandwidth or fiber optic networks and integrated telecom services that provide wired and wireless services. Wireless telecom services also include cell phone service providers. 

IndustrySub-IndustryDescription
Diversified Telecommunication Services Alternative Carriers Companies that provide communications and data services using high bandwidth or fiber optic cable networks.
Integrated Telecommunication Services Companies that operate wired telecom networks and companies that provide both wireless and wired telecom services.
Wireless Telecommunication Services Wireless Telecommunication Services Companies that provide cell or wireless telecom services.

Examples of companies within the telecom sector include AT&T, CenturyLink, Verizon, Frontier Communications and Level 3 Communications.

Telecommunications Sector ETFs and Mutual Funds

We list 35 mutual funds, index funds and ETFs below that follow the telecommunications sector, of which eleven track the sector globally. Most of the funds cover the entire telecom sector, but a few do specialize in specific types of telecom companies, such as smartphone service providers or wireless service providers. The expense fees on the funds we've displayed below range from 0.10% to 2.38%.

NameSymbolExpense Ratio
Vanguard Telecommunication Services ETF VOX 0.10%
Vanguard Telecom Services Index Fund Admiral Shares VTCAX 0.10%
Fidelity MSCI Telecommunications Services ETF FCOM 0.12%
SPDR S&P Telecom ETF XTL 0.35%
SPDR S&P International Telecommunications Sector ETF IST 0.40%
iShares U.S. Telecommunications ETF IYZ 0.43%
iShares Global Telecom ETF IXP 0.47%
First Trust NASDAQ Smartphone ETF FONE 0.70%
T. Rowe Price Media & Telecommunications PRMTX 0.79%
Fidelity® Select Telecommunications Portfolio FSTCX 0.82%
Fidelity Advisor® Telecommunications Fund Class I FTUIX 0.85%
Fidelity® Select Wireless FWRLX 0.85%
ProShares Ultra Telecommunications ETF LTL 0.95%
Putnam Global Telecommunication Fund Class Y PGBYX 1.01%
Fidelity Advisor® Telecommunications Fund Class A FTUAX 1.15%
Putnam Global Telecommunication A PGBZX 1.26%
Deutsche Communications Institutional Class FLICX 1.36%
Rydex Telecommunications Investor Class RYMIX 1.36%
GAMCO Global Telecommunications Fund Class I GTTIX 1.38%
Fidelity Advisor® Telecommunications Fund Class T FTUTX 1.46%
Putnam Global Telecommunication Fund Class R PGBTX 1.51%
Rydex Telecommunications Fund Class A RYTLX 1.60%
Deutsche Communications Fund Class A TISHX 1.61%
GAMCO Global Telecommunications Fund Class AAA GABTX 1.63%
GAMCO Global Telecommunications Fund Class A GTCAX 1.63%
Putnam Global Telecommunication Fund Class M PGBMX 1.76%
Fidelity Advisor® Telecommunications Fund Class C FTUCX 1.85%
Rydex Telecommunications Fund Class H RYMAX 1.86%
Fidelity Advisor® Telecommunications Fund Class B FTUBX 1.92%
Wireless Fund WIREX 1.95%
Putnam Global Telecommunication Fund Class B PGBBX 2.01%
Putnam Global Telecommunication Fund Class C PGBNX 2.01%
Rydex Telecommunications Fund Class C RYCSX 2.35%
Deutsche Communications Fund Class C FTICX 2.36%
GAMCO Global Telecommunications Fund Class C GTCCX 2.38%

If you are considering purchasing a fund, you should always research the fund. This includes researching the historical returns, components, size, loads and strategy of the fund. You should also consider how the fund will fit into your current investment portfolio.

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