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The Telstra share price is up more than 7% in 2020. Is now the time to buy?

The Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS) share price has been an early outperformer in 2020.

The telco’s shares are up 7.54% since the start of the year compared to a 3.56% return for the S&P/ASX 200 Index (INDEXASX: XJO).

But is the Telstra share price finally on the rebound and should you buy and hold for 2020?

Why the Telstra share price could be in the buy zone

The group’s shares have been quietly climbing higher in January despite no new announcements from the Aussie telco since November 2019.

In fact, the current $3.85 Telstra share price is just shy of its $3.98 per share 52-week high. That mark could be exceeded this week and the group’s shares could close above $4 for the first time since August 2018.

Despite no news from Telstra, fellow telco Vocus Group Ltd (ASX: VOC) also saw its shares surge 8.11% higher on Friday.

Insider buying was the big catalyst in that instance, but I still think Telstra could be better value right now.

The Telstra share price is at the top end of its range, but 2020 could be a breakthrough year. The company’s 5G plans are finally coming together, which represent a lucrative opportunity for the decade ahead.

The Aussie telco just ticked over 100,000 users with 5G-connected devices in a sign of its potential growth. 

Why wouldn’t you buy in right now?

While the Telstra share price is beginning to look like a long-term buy-and-hold ASX 200 stock, there are some short-term headwinds.

The proposed merger between TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM) and Vodafone, through Hutchison Telecommunications Australia (ASX: HTA), remains before the courts. A decision reportedly remains unlikely before February 2020 but the outcome of that case will be a big factor in the long-term outlook for Telstra.

More immediately, the ongoing bushfire crisis is continuing to hit major infrastructure and impact communications across Australia. The Telstra share price has thus far weathered the storm despite the fires continuing to cause devastation across the country.

Foolish takeaway

While the long-term technical environment looks good, the current high valuation and short-term headwinds means I’d be sitting tight until earnings season for the right price.

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Motley Fool contributor Kenneth Hall has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Telstra Limited. 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 Scott Phillips.

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