Ovum: 2Q12 PON and VDSL2 sales look good

Ovum says in its new "Market Share Alert: 2Q12 FTTx, DSL, and CMTS" report that sales of PON and VDSL2 gear grew strongly in the second quarter of 2012. Within the PON space, a general shift from passing customers to connecting them means that OLT shipments are losing steam, however.

The market research firm notes that the shift from DSL-based access networks to fiber to the home (FTTH) and building (FTTB) continues. Where carriers don't want to completely abandon their copper cables, they're installing VDSL2 equipment. The two trends mean that DSL sales overall in 2Q12 shrank, but VDSL2 sales reached a record 6.3 million ports. VDSL2 represented 57% of all DSL shipments in North America, and 43% in EMEA, Ovum estimates.

Meanwhile, the shift towards FTTH/FTTB customer connections can be seen in the fact that 2Q12 marked the first year-over-year decline in global PON OLT port shipments in more than three years.

With much of the action in China, vendors from that country dominated port shipment share during 2Q12, as the table below indicates.

FTTH/FTTB PON OLT ports ZTE Huawei Fiberhome
FTTH/FTTB PON ONT/ONU unitsHuawei ZTEAlcatel-Lucent 
DSL ports HuaweiZTE Alcatel-Lucent


Ovum notes that just because you ship the most ports doesn’t mean you make the most money.

"The division that has opened up recently between PON volume and revenue trends continued in 2Q12 due to price wars, particularly in China, and will have an impact on vendor results and strategy," says Kamalini Ganguly, analyst, Network Infrastructure Practice. "The conversation in fixed access tends to be around shipment volumes, but the focus should really be on revenues and profits. The PON price wars in China and elsewhere are not sustainable. Revenues are not keeping pace with growth in volumes. Vendors – even Huawei – are being pickier about projects and markets. If price pressures continue, there may be more vendor consolidation like that of Calix's acquisition of Ericsson's PON portfolio."

Meanwhile, CMTS sales were more similar to DSL than PON quarter on quarter, but such softness is not unusual at this time of the year. Shipments are still high — up 10% from the same quarter in 2011, Ovum notes. "CMTS annualized shipments in North America and EMEA are at their peak," offers Ganguly.

Cisco, ARRIS, and Motorola were the market share leaders in port shipments during the quarter, according to the report.

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