A report from UK analyst firm Ovum has found that preliminary results for the FTTx, DSL and CMTS markets in the second quarter of this year show a mix of growth and declines as multiple transitions in fixed access technologies and products continued.
Positive notes include PON ONT and ONU units and VDSL2 port shipments, which are believed to have grown strongly in the three month period while other segments lagged.
The transition stages vary greatly from country to country, but at a global aggregate level, they include a shift from DSL to FTTH/FTTB networks and a deceleration of OLT shipments as the focus swings to customer acquisition and ONT/ONU sales.
In 2Q12 overall DSL shipments were down, but VDSL2 volumes recovered strongly to a record 6.3 million. In North America, the proportion of VDSL2 was 57 percent of all DSL shipments, while in EMEA it was 43 per cent.
Within FTTH/FTTB PON networks, shipments of global PON customer premise equipment (ONTs and ONUs) rose strongly as a long wave of OLT installations at the central office has begun to lose steam. Asia-Pacific and China in particular led sales of PON ONTs and ONUs. Ovum reports that it noticed the first year-over-year decline in global PON OLT port shipments in more than three years.
Kamalini Ganguly, Analyst, Network Infrastructure Practice said: “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.
“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.”
CMTS vendors saw volumes drop quarter-on-quarter in 2Q12, but such softness is not unusual at this time of the year. Shipments are still high and were up 10 percent from the year-ago level. Ganguly adds that she believes CMTS annualised shipments in North America and EMEA are currently at their peak.