Infonetics sees 2013 growth in optical hardware sales

Sales of optical transport gear dropped 10% in 2012 versus 2011, according to market research firm Infonetics Research. But disappointed equipment vendors should take heart: 2013 will be a better year, says an Infonetics analyst.

Sales of optical transport gear dropped 10% in 2012 versus 2011, according to market research firm Infonetics Research. But disappointed equipment vendors should take heart: 2013 will be a better year, says an Infonetics analyst.

“After ending 2012 on a flat note, things are looking up for the optical market in 2013,” offers Andrew Schmitt, principal analyst for optical at Infonetics. “Our conversations with equipment providers continue to trend positive, particularly in North America where 100G spending is about to ramp. The general consensus remains that an optical cycle for equipment in the core is emerging, what we call the ‘optical reboot.’

“Meanwhile, there are positive rumbles in the EMEA region, where 2012 ended with a spending flourish and carriers are cutting dividends to plow capital into general capex,” Schmitt adds. “And we are looking forward to our visits with carriers in Beijing this spring to get a good read on the year, but the preliminary indication is it will be a huge year for 100G. China is about half of the global 40G WDM market, and 2013 will be the peak year for 40G worldwide.”

The positive outlook is no doubt welcome after the trials of 2012, which was capped by a good news/bad news fourth quarter. According to Infonetics Research’s upcoming Optical Network Hardware report (available February 27), the fourth quarter saw sales 2% greater than the previous quarter. However, that figure was still down 13% from the same quarter in 2011.

Similar sentiments could be expressed about some of the optical network equipment vendors as well. For example, Alcatel-Lucent bounced back from its worst-ever results in the third quarter to see sales rise 29% sequentially, thanks to a boomlet in spending from the EMEA region. However, like the overall performance of the market during 4Q12, revenues from the company’s WDM product line still weren’t as high as they were in 4Q11.

Meanwhile, as Dell’Oro Group recently noted (see “Optical hardware sales shrank in 2012, confirms Dell'Oro”), sales of SONET/SDH equipment tanked in 2012, dropping 30%.

Infonetics’ quarterly Optical Network Hardware report offers estimates of worldwide and regional market size, market share, analysis, forecasts, and trends for metro and long haul SONET/SDH and WDM equipment, Ethernet optical ports, SONET/SDH/POS ports, and WDM ports.

For more information on high-speed transmission systems and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

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