Ovum: PON OLT sales dropped in 2012

Sales of PON optical line terminals (OLTs) for FTTx networks dropped in 2012, according to Ovum’s recently published Market Share Report: 2012 FTTx, DSL, and CMTS units. A slowing of EPON sales in major Asian markets was to blame, according to the market research firm.

Sales of PON optical line terminals (OLTs) for FTTx networks dropped in 2012, according to Ovum’s recently published Market Share Report: 2012 FTTx, DSL, and CMTS Units. A slowing of EPON sales in major Asian markets was to blame, according to the market research firm.

OLT port shipments reached just over 4.1 million in 2012, a retreat of 9% versus 2011 levels.

All the news wasn’t bad for PON vendors, however. The growing number of PON-based FTTx subscribers worldwide boosted sales of optical network terminals (ONTs) and optical network units (ONUs), Ovum reports. Sales of such customer premises equipment grew 43% year on year, to 40.3 million units.

Overall, the figures would suggest that the focus for many major FTTx deployments has shifted from passing potential customers to connecting them.

Julie Kunstler, telecom components analyst at Ovum, says that the shrinkage in OLT shipments was influenced by three markets. “The decline was due to maturing EPON network builds in China, Japan, and Korea,” she explains. “This decline was not offset fully by large GPON network builds throughout the world. Shipments of total PON OLT port market will continue to decline unless there are major GPON network builds in India, Indonesia, Brazil, and/or Russia.”

Meanwhile, Kunstler reports that PON equipment is being used to support applications other than triple-play service delivery. “We began to see the use of PON in wireless backhaul, particularly for small cell sites where there is technical fit and geographic overlap,” she says. “We are also seeing PON deployments for enterprise optical LAN. Next-Gen PON’s numbers will remain small as the need for 10G PON in FTTB MDU deployments is fading away, leaving wireless-backhaul and enterprise as possible markets.”

ZTE was the 2012 OLT market share leader, with 42%. Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent followed, with 36% and 8% market shares, respectively. The same three companies, in the same order, topped the ONT/ONU shipment list as well, although more tightly bunched. ZTE led with 32% of the market, followed by Huawei with 31% and Alcatel-Lucent with 15%.

For more information on FTTx equipment and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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