Is Telstra Corporation Ltd too cheap to ignore?

Shares of telecommunications behemoth Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) are trading around 15% lower than their 52-week high, which I believe makes it an opportune time for investors to jump on board.

Whilst few expect the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut interest rates today, it does seem inevitable that a rate cut is coming soon. In fact according to reports in The Sydney Morning Herald, some economists have suggested there could be upwards of four interest rate cuts in the works. This would reduce the cash rate down to a paltry 0.75%.

As Telstra is one of the more generous dividend payers on the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO), I believe it becomes an even more appealing investment in a low interest environment. Currently the shares provide an estimated full year fully franked dividend of 5.6%, which is a good 130 basis points higher than the market average of 4.3%.

But there’s more to Telstra than just a dividend. I believe the company is positioned to deliver steady earnings growth over the next few years which could take the share price higher. Although the company does face a lot of competition on home soil from the likes of TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM), Vocus Communications Limited (ASX: VOC), and Optus, it has still produced a strong performance this year.

In its half year results the company reported that it added an additional 121,000 retail fixed broadband customers. But perhaps most impressive was the addition of 235,000 retail mobile customers, taking its total mobile subscriber base to a massive 16.9 million.

Whilst these robust results are doing their part in offsetting the decline in fixed voice subscribers, it will be the growth of its Asia Pacific unit which really drives growth in my opinion. Telstra has aspirations of being the carrier-of-choice for businesses in the Asia Pacific region through its combination of subsea routes and overland fibre.

One of Telstra’s key projects in this area will be the rollout of a fibre optic backhaul link running overland in Taiwan and providing scope for traffic between Japan, the US, Hong Kong and Singapore. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, researchers from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch believe Telstra’s offshore businesses will account for $2.2 billion of revenue by 2019.

Another source of growth away from its traditional services could be its expanding presence in the healthcare sector. Telstra is building out capabilities for providing solutions in numerous areas including primary, aged and residential care, hospitals, radiology, pharmacy, and health analytics.

Things are looking very promising for the unit in my opinion, with Telstra recently securing a $180 million three-year contract from the government to manage a new national cancer screening register from next year.

Overall I’m very optimistic about Telstra’s future and believe the current share price makes it too cheap to ignore and a great addition to most portfolios.

Lastly, if you need to make room for Telstra in your portfolio then I would recommend checking if you own one of these three rotten shares. It would definitely be worth swapping them out for a high quality share like Telstra if you ask me.

3 Rotten Shares to Sell, and 1 to Buy Today

After a double-digit rally for the ASX since 2016 lows, investors should be on high alert. You'll find a full rundown below of 3 shares we think you should avoid today plus one top pick worth buying, even if the market turns south and the RBA keeps rates at an "emergency low." Simply click here to uncover these stocks.

Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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